While there is growing optimism that college football will happen this fall as scheduled, it’s becoming apparent that there will be some major changes in who can attend and how they do so.
After it once seemed likely football would be played with no fans, speculation continues to grow that fans will be allowed in limited numbers, but must display proper social distancing procedures in the stands. And now, at least one national analyst believes fans will all have to wear masks to get into games when the season begins.
“I think we’re going to have to have masks in the stadium. I do think it will be required initially,” NCAA.com’s Andy Katz said Friday on The Paul Finebaum Show. “I think in September — unless things change, and I hope they change — I’m going to say initially, yes, it will be required for entrance all over the country. That’s just my prediction.”
.@TheAndyKatz tells us he is predicting that fans will be required to wear masks in order to attend football games this fall. "We'll see in the fall. But as of now, every AD I talk to believes there will be a requirement for a mask with fans."
— Paul Finebaum (@finebaum) May 22, 2020
“I’m just going to say that I think to have a mass gathering — more than 50, 100 people — I wish we didn’t have to,” Katz continued in his appearance with Finebaum. “I’m not a fan, I don’t like wearing them. But I have to because that’s what’s required to go into a grocery store, so I’m doing what I’m supposed to.
“I just think in a mass gathering — you’re talking about 10,000, 20,000 people — I think that’s what will happen initially. I’m hopeful it will fade as we go deeper into the fall. I could be wrong and I hope I’m wrong. I hope I’m wrong on this one. But I just think at this juncture, here in mid-to-late-May, I think that’s what they’re thinking.”
This past week, the NCAA Division I Council voted to allow voluntary athletics activities on campus in all Division I sports beginning June 1, with the SEC following suit with an announced June 8 return date of their own on Friday.
In a statement released Friday afternoon, UK athletic director Barnhart said the school plans to work with state and local officials to come up with a specific return date.
“With the NCAA and SEC approving a return to activity, we will now work with our partners at the state and local government and university levels to determine the date that our student-athletes will come back,” Barnhart said on Twitter. “We will not compromise the safety and well-being of our student-athletes in this process, taking all possible precautions.
“Once we take this important step in returning to activity, we will shift our focus to preparing to return to play and bringing the entire UK family – student-athletes, coaches and fans alike – back together this fall in a responsible and safe way.”