Only one SEC program has decided that they won’t have any fans watching live football this fall.
Vanderbilt University announced on Friday that they will not allow any spectators to attend home games for all fall sports starting now and running through the end of October. The decision comes in regard to health and safety concerns surrounding the coronavirus.
Here is what Vandy’s athletic director Candice Lee had to say about the situation, according to the school’s press release:
“Our student-athletes and coaching staffs are ready to compete and win in the best conference in the nation, but we recognize that we have to do so in our ‘new normal’ environment, where we need to focus on keeping everyone as healthy and safe as possible. Playing without fans allows us to concentrate all of our energies on our student-athletes and minimize scenarios that could jeopardize their health and safety, and their ability to complete the season.
“We understand the impact this decision to compete without spectators has on both our fan base and our student-athletes, but this is the right thing to do for us because of the current challenges posed by COVID-19. Given factors in play at Vanderbilt, such as playing in the heart of a city, we feel this decision is in the best interest of our students, fans, game day staff, and the greater Nashville community.
“Across the country, we have seen professional leagues, universities, athletic departments and conferences react in different ways to their unique challenges, and we must do the same. College sports thrives with a passionate fanbase and we look forward to responsibly welcoming them back when we can do so safely. In the meantime, we are also developing innovative approaches for fans to cheer on our Commodores in fun new ways.”
Vanderbilt has announced that the fall athletics season will begin without spectators at home events now through the end of October.https://t.co/EBPeVGzYiE
— Vanderbilt Athletics (@vucommodores) September 11, 2020
The rest of the SEC has been making their rulings on fan attendance since earlier this month, with most programs landing somewhere in the 20-25 percent range. The University of Kentucky made the decision to limit stadium capacity at 20 percent, with that news becoming official on Thursday. Currently, the specific number in regards to how many people that 20 percent might include (Kroger Field holds roughly 61,000 people) hasn’t been made official, although that would be around 12,000 for UK.
If you’re one of the 13 Commodore fans in existence, you can still experience a gameday atmosphere, you’ll just have to settle for a virtual experience. “Fans will have access to virtual programming for home football games, including a virtual tailgate, live pregame show, and opportunities to win exclusive prizes and connect with Commodore Nation,” the Vanderbilt press release stated. Whatever all that means. The school also came off as oddly vague when talking about how fans who already purchased tickets might be able to get their money back.
“Fans who purchased season tickets will soon be receiving communication from the Vanderbilt Athletics ticket office regarding options for the upcoming season.”
Honestly, Vanderbilt might just be trying to save themselves from having only 5 percent of the stadium show up.