STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (WTAJ) — The atmosphere at Beaver Stadium will be different this season as Penn State begins to plan adjustments due to COVID-19.
Penn State Vice President of Intercollegiate Athletics Sandy Barbour spoke with reporters Wednesday for about an hour to discuss a variety of different topics. Will fans be allowed in Beaver Stadium? Will college football be pushed to the spring? Has Penn State had any positive COVID-19 tests so far?
Penn State athletics is currently working on guidelines for seating in collaboration with the governor’s office and state. Athletic Director Sandy Barbour said how athletes from the home and away teams enter the stadium and who they interact with will need to be part of the plan.
Barbour also said that tailgating and fans waiting for the team arrival may not be possible, depending on what conditions they will be in as they start to play. She hopes that as people start looking into the precautions and recommitting to the seriousness of the virus, the curve will start to flatten.
“Whatever it is we are going to do, we are only going to do it if it is safe and healthy. Starting with students. Then moving to coaches and staff and moving to our community,” Barbour said.
“What we are doing is we are planning. Given the uncertainty, we are going to be working on a lot of plans – a lot of different plans and a lot of different scenarios. When the time comes, if it is healthy and safe to do it, we will obviously do it. If it is not, we won’t.”
You are a season ticket holder – or not
Penn State will try to accommodate as many season ticket holders as they can this year. The school had a 94-95 percent season-ticket renewal rate and an additional 3,000 purchases. Barbour does not think a full house scenario will be in the books this season.
“If you do not have a season ticket, then you are probably not getting into a game,” Barbour said.
With the high number of renewals coupled with the possibility of limited capacity, Penn State will prioritize tickets to people who are season ticket holders.
Penn State has discussed a possible scenario of playing its football season in the spring. Barbour said that scenario would be a last resort, with the biggest challenge being the proximity to the next season and the wear and tear of the athletes.
No Positive Tests
Penn State released its first data on its COVID-19 testing. Athletes have been tested when arriving back on campus. Out of 102 athletes, the university has not had a positive test yet.
Three groups of athletes have returned to campus already. It started with 75 football players, then more football players returned along with the men’s and women’s basketball teams. Most recently, the men’s and women’s soccer teams and the women’s volleyball team returned to campus.