Penn State Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics, Sandy Barbour confirmed on Thursday afternoon that there will be no tailgating at Beaver Stadium or the surrounding on-campus facilities this coming fall.
In a move that was largely anticipated, Barbour noted that the decision to play football -announced by the Big Ten on Wednesday- was a positive, but only a small step towards normal. In turn, fans will be encouraged to watch from home and will not be allowed to congregate outside Beaver Stadium.
The move comes in conjunction with additional information provided by league officials on Wednesday which stated no tickets will be sold across the Big Ten and attendance by player and staff families will be determined on a campus by campus basis. Currently no more than 250 people are allowed at outdoor sporting events per state health guidelines.
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf has not indicated if that order would be amended for families of players and staff members at Beaver Stadium, a venue that holds over 110,000.
"We've made a decision as a conference, not to have fans out of an abundance of caution," Barbour told reporters. "And we're really asking our Penn State nation to cheer us on, you know, have small home personal pod, watch parties, but but do it safely...You're not going to be able to do tailgating on the campus as much as we would love you to be able to do this. This has always been about getting back to some normal activities but while doing it safely."
Penn State has yet to announce any game day related virtual activities or in-stadium potential for things such as the popular cardboard cutouts of fans, available for purchase and placed in seats throughout the stadium.
However like all things in 2020 and over a month from the start of the season, Penn State continues to take things one day at a time.
In a news release, Barbour joined other university officials in emphasizing several points related to the start of the football season:
"Penn State will absolutely not permit any tailgating in or around the stadium, or on campus. The University plans to work closely with area law enforcement to support existing municipal ordinances that limit gatherings and require wearing a face mask.
"The University will continue to work actively with student organizations and the student community to abide by existing limits on gatherings and in the deterrence of game-day visits to State College by friends, alumni and others. We plan to aggressively reinforce expectations of students and student organizations, as well as other fans, and we will be active in our outreach and messaging to restrict larger watch parties in the residence halls.
"We also have shown, through organized movie nights, for example, that the University and its students can organize positive and fun outdoor activities that involve mask wearing and social distancing. We will be working with students to support similar experiences that abide by COVID-19 guidelines.
"And finally, we will continue our close, cooperative planning with the Borough of State College to anticipate and manage expectations, and conformance of bars and restaurants with the municipal ordinance passed to enforce COVID-19 prevention measures, including limitations on gatherings and occupancy."