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Penn State Football: Limited Capacity and Season-Tickets Only Ahead for 2020 Campaign

by on July 01, 2020 3:38 PM

Penn State has yet to settle on seating arrangements and stadium capacity for the upcoming 2020 football season but one thing is clear: if you don’t have season tickets you aren’t getting in.

“One of the things I can say with certainty, and obviously there’s not much I can say with certainty, but without a season ticket, no matter what our capacity is, you’re probably not coming to a Penn State game this year,” Penn State Vice President of Intercollegiate Athletics Sandy Barbour told reporters on Wednesday.

Barbour was reserved during her interview session when it came to unveiling any substantial details surrounding the upcoming season capacity plans for a stadium that seats well over 100,000.

One thing is clear though, Beaver Stadium will be far different in a COVID-19 world on Saturdays than it was just a year ago, and far less packed in the process.

“The different scenarios we’re looking at would be to try to accommodate as many of our season ticket holders as we possibly can,” Barbour added.

The challenge that lies ahead for Barbour and university decision-makers is multifaceted. On the one hand the athletic department faces a tightening deadline to get the ball rolling toward whatever ticketing policy is decided on. On the other, Penn State must work with the state’s health department to forecast and model an uncertain future amid a pandemic. 

Because come September things could be better, or — as cases surge around the nation — they could be worse. Current state guidelines do not allow for gatherings of more than 250 people in any collegiate athletic facility with teams counting toward that total. Any plans for crowds larger than 250 must be approved by the Department of Health. On Wednesday afternoon Governor Tom Wolf's administration also mandated the use of masks in all public spaces.

“That’s what we’re looking at now,” Barbour said. “We’re looking at what we think our capacity could be, talking to the state; obviously, conditions can change. They can get better, they can get worse, so we’ve got to have a number of scenarios. 

“We certainly want to, in whatever we do, we want to be able to reward our passionate and very faithful season ticket holders for their investment in Penn State Athletics and in Penn State football, so we’ll have to, ultimately, depending on all of the different levers that pull and what the situation is that that we roll out for how we can honor those that have invested in us.”

Barbour didn’t offer a deadline or timeline for these decisions to be made, or if all season ticket holders will be rewarded with an opportunity to see games this season. While no capacity figures have been announced, the general consensus, although not official, is that stadiums around the country will likely not reach 50% capacity this season and could hover significantly lower. 

In turn it is unknown if Penn State would reward a handful of season-ticket holders with full packages or offer all season-ticket holders an assortment of games with some sort of partial refund or future credit. Such configurations are purely speculation but would offer some value to the most people.

Penn State recently delayed the sale of student season tickets, and Barbour made no indication on Wednesday in either direction if they would or would not eventually be sold.

Additionally Barbour noted that fans could expect certain limitations with events outside the stadium but did not offer details as it pertains to things such as tailgating or general congregation around Beaver Stadium for those not attending the game itself.

“I appreciate our fans and their fanaticism for Penn State football, and we hope to be able to reward them with a safe and healthy opportunity to come watch Penn State football this year,” she said.

Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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