Colleges start planning for return of sports fans amid COVID-19 pandemic

KU Memorial Stadium
Posted at 1:29 PM, May 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-26 14:33:14-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Several colleges Kansas City-area fans like to frequent during football season are already discussing whether or not it's possible for supporters to return to stadiums in the fall.

Iowa State University Director of Athletics Jamie Pollard said he plans to have football games at home, but with limited fan capacity.

"First, we fully anticipate playing football this fall. In order to do that, we have to overcome several initial hurdles (i.e., getting the players safely back on campus, officially starting team activities, conducting preseason practice, etc.) before we can truly start to assess this fall's season. As of today, we fully anticipate playing football in Jack Trice Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 5," he said in a release.

The stadium will only be allowed to reach 50% capacity, which Pollard said he expects will be made up entirely of season ticket holders. The school does not anticipate selling single-game tickets.

University of Kansas Athletic Director Jeff Long said he also plans for football to be played at KU, and he is even looking ahead to basketball season.

"We’re modeling. We modeled 15,000 to 16,000 in Memorial Stadium and to be honest with you, I can’t, we’ve modeled Allen Fieldhouse but I can’t bring myself to looking at it because I know how few people it will be and that is upsetting. So I’m going to wait a while before I look at those numbers," he said at a press briefing with University of Kansas Health System officials.

Like Iowa State, Kansas has already seen season ticket holders renew their purchases and plan to be at games.

"We certainly have a feel that our fans will want to come back. We’re well over 90 percent renewals for our football season tickets, so that’s a good sign. And we just hope we develop the ways to protect them prior to that first game on Sept. 5," Long said.

The Kansas State University Athletic Department told 41 Action News there has not been any decision made on fans at this time, but approximately 22,400 season tickets have been sold for the 2020 season — or "just above 80 percent renewal rate of our 28,000 season tickets from a year ago," according to a spokesman for Wildcats athletics.

41 Action News also reached out to the University of Missouri, which will allow season ticket holders to be refunded for the upcoming fall, apply that money toward the 2021 football season or convert it to a gift to the Tiger Scholarship Fund.