Roanoke-native Lauren Sisler reports on first COVID-era NCAA football game
ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - After months of uncertainty, the 2020 college football season kicked off August 29 with a bang as the Austin Peay Governors scored a touchdown on the first play from scrimmage versus Central Arkansas in the first game of the season.
On the ESPN broadcast team for that game was Roanoke-native, Giles High School graduate and WDBJ7 alum Lauren Sisler.
“I think I just covered the biggest game in my college football career," Sisler told WDBJ7.
In the historic first game of the COVID-era, Sisler reported on the many changes in place allowing this season to move forward – from COVID tests for all players, coaches and game-day staff – including herself – to very limited fan capacity, masks for everyone on the sidelines and much more.
“When I entered into the stadium, obviously it’s a little bit different, areas are roped off, you’re not battling all the fans you typically are to get into the stadium," said Sisler.
Sisler also conducted socially-distanced sideline interviews.
She says since she was not allowed near the team benches like usual, she had a tougher time gathering in-game details.
“I could not stand behind the bench and listen in to those conversations, so a lot of my observations had to happen from a distance," said Sisler.
ESPN is also staffing games differently throughout this pandemic.
Sisler’s broadcast partners were actually calling the game from a studio in Bristol, CT, and instead of traveling with a set crew this year she will hop around mostly covering games within driving distance of her home in Alabama.
“I’m floating around from crew to crew based on games, matchups and locations," said Sisler.
Sisler’s next assignment is Tulane versus South Alabama Saturday.
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