Student cut-outs to fill the stadium during Grand Canyon University first home basketball game

Cardboard cutouts sharing the stadium with 250 students during a GCU home game on Nov. 25, 2020

Grand Canyon University's Basketball team is taking to the court for the first time this season on Nov. 25, but things look a little different than they did in the spring now, as a result of precautions put in place due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The stadium that hosts the game normally seats 7,000 fans, but on Nov. 25, it is limited to 250 people. That, however, didn't stop the team from getting creative, with cutouts filling many of the seats in the stadium.

"Mix of cheesy faces, student-athletes, most of them pop culture," said Joshua Gillespie.

As for the seats that were to be filled by live humans, all 250 of those tickets sold out in half an hour.

"We’re really excited to see what happens, but we’re also nervous because we never have had a game with this type of atmosphere," said Gillespie.

This game was a long time coming, with preparations starting over the summer.

"We put a ton of work into it, and so the last two or three months, we really been pushing to get things ready," said Gillespie.

While there won’t be quite as many cheering fans as usual, Gillespie says they are grateful to continue on with this school tradition.

"In all the craziness, being able to come and be a part of the havocs is something students can still cling onto and have fun," said Gillespie.

There’s also another way students are using the cut-outs, as some of them who can’t make it home for Thanksgiving this year are sending cut-outs of themselves back home to surprise parents, where those cut-outs can take their place at the Thanksgiving dinner table.