Penn State will attempt to make good with the Class of 2021 by inviting senior students to a football practice at Beaver Stadium on Friday, April 23.
There, soon-to-be graduates will cheer on the Nittany Lions as they take part in yet another spring football practice. A separate, freshmen-only Beaver Stadium event is already slated for this Saturday.
“This is an important moment for our seniors and we had intended to extend the opportunity for them to attend the April 17 spring practice, but we were unable due to community health concerns when cases started to rise,” Penn State President Eric Barron said in a release. “However, the practices were extended and as health conditions have stabilized, we are thankful to make this shift in programming so that seniors can showcase their Penn State spirit and participate in this longstanding tradition.”
Penn State will still require attendees to socially distance and wear masks at all times. The university is prepared to put plans on hold if “circumstances surrounding the pandemic change or worsen,” according to a news release
Only seniors taking at least one in-person class at University Park this spring are eligible to attend the game, according to Penn State. Those who fit that description should receive an email from Penn State Athletics with ticket information by Monday, April 19.
Penn State chose to make only seniors with in-person classes eligible for the event to “minimize visitors to the community and to limit the spread of COVID-19.” Thousands of seniors’ families are, however, invited to Beaver Stadium in just a few weeks for in-person commencement ceremonies.
To attend, according to Penn State, eligible students must also:
- Register for tickets in advance (no walk-ups).
- Wear face masks at all times in the stadium.
- Adhere to physical distancing requirements.
- Remain in their assigned seating during the practice with their pre-determined three-person pods.
Much like this weekend’s festivities, tailgating is still banned, and some parking lots will be closed. Police will enforce tailgating restrictions to prevent mass gatherings, according to the university.
The new event should help seniors who felt slighted with Penn State’s decision to invite only freshmen to April 17’s events. That choice was met with stark criticism from fans and even a grassroots email-writing campaign.
“We are excited to be able to welcome our seniors for this special spring practice and give them a chance to see Penn State Football in Beaver Stadium before graduation,” Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Sandy Barbour said. “The seniors have exhibited such resilience over the last year, as has the rest of our campus community, and we are so proud of everything they have accomplished during their time at Penn State.”