More Than 30 Citations Issued for Weekend Wrestling Tournament in College Township
College Township officials said on Monday that more than 30 citations carrying thousands of dollars in fines were issued against the host and organizer of a weekend wrestling tournament for exceeding the state's COVID-19 gathering limitations and other violations.
The Olympic Club Duals tournament was held from Friday through Sunday at C3 Sports, 200 Ellis Place, which is owned by Christ Community Church. According to the township, the tournament — which featured scholastic, cadet and junior wrestlers from all over the country — had more than 1,200 competitors and an additional 1,500 people in attendance.
After learning of plans for the tournament, the township on Friday asked Gov. Tom Wolf's office and the Department of Health to seek an injunction to shut down the tournament, but the administration did not intervene.
"Left with no way to legally shut-down the event, College Township worked with the State College Police Department, State College Borough Health Department and Centre Region Code Administration to protect the residents of the region as well as the participants of the event," College Township Council Chair Anthony Fragola said in a statement.
He added that township officials believe the governor's office had the power "to forcibly prevent such an event," and said declining to do so made the circumstances "doubly unfortunate."
Wolf's press secretary, Lyndsay Kensinger, said requests for injunctions do not need to come from the state or the Attorney General's Office, but rather anyone with standing, including municipalities, may ask a court to issue one.
"We reached out to the township as soon as we were made aware of the event and offered to assist in its enforcement efforts but did not receive a request to support its efforts," Kensinger said.
Fragola said over the course of the three-day tournament, citations and violations were written for fire code infractions, zoning use and health code violations, and violations of the township's ordinance for enforcing state restrictions on gathering sizes. A COVID-19 mitigation order from the Secretary of Health limits indoor gatherings to 25 people and outdoor gatherings to 250.
Citations against C3 Sports and Olympic Club Duals are estimated to be in excess of $10,000, Fragola said.
"For practical and safety purposes, citations were issued only to the host facility and the event organizers, not to individuals attending the event," he added.
In addition to the fines, C3 Sports and Christ Community Church's license to sell prepare foods on site was revoked because of alleged violations of health code regulations on successive days.
Township officials told C3 and Olympic Club Duals ahead of the event that it would be in violation of state and local COVID-19 restrictions and even after the event began and citations were issued they chose to continue, Fragola said.
Curt Krazer, founder of the Eastern Pennsylvania-based Olympic Club Duals, said on Friday the event would have "full protocols in place," with required masking, temperature checks and social distancing. Wrestlers who were finished competing and their families were to go outside, where tents were set up around the property.
Fragola said some protocols were not enforced.
"Participants' posts on a variety of social media outlets made it amply clear that C3 Sports and event organizers, despite statements prior that they had a strict COVID protection plan, took little or no action to enforce either masking requirements or social distancing requirements," he said.
The township is aware of similar events planned at C3 Sports and elsewhere in the township, Fragola said. Council will use a previously scheduled special meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Monday to discuss amendments to the township's COVID-19 ordinance to address such events.
"College Township strongly condemns this event and is deeply disappointed in C3 Sports, the event organizers, the Governors’ and PA Secretary of Health’s Office for risking the health and welfare of the participants, the residents of College Township, the Centre Region and Centre County by taking no action to cancel, postpone or shut-down this event," Fragola said.
"If the current state guidelines remain in place, we call on the community to express their concerns to those who are responsible for placing the health of this community in jeopardy by contacting them directly. This includes conducting any event safely regardless of the current pandemic restrictions. Should these future events occur in spite of your and our efforts, College Township will continue to do its best to control and enforce that which is within our powers."
C3 Sports did not respond to a request for comment.