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Sandy Barbour: Penn State Remains ‘Optimistic’ For Fall Sports

Sandy Barbour issued a statement Thursday afternoon reiterating Penn State is working hard to combat the coronavirus pandemic and make sports a reality this fall.

Her letter, which was released shortly after the Big Ten announced it would limit fall sports to conference-only schedules this year, applauded moves athletic officials are taking to keep student-athletes safe.

“This announcement represents a step, a very important step, that will help provide consistency, clarity and some control over the situation,” Barbour wrote. “We feel in order to establish the safest environment possible for our student-athletes, coaches, staff and our community, this is the best path forward.”

Barbour added the Big Ten’s decisions have been “fully supported” by Penn State. She noted the university has maintained that the health and safety of its students and others in its care remains “the top priority.”

Although Barbour believes there’s lots of work to be done if fall sports are to kick off in August and September, she feels optimistic the Nittany Lions will play this fall and spring.

“We have no doubt it will look, feel and act differently than we have become accustomed to over time,” Barbour wrote. “But giving our student-athletes the opportunity to compete in the sport they love and have played their entire lives is important to them individually and us collectively, as well as the viability of our community.

“Please have no doubt, it’s not more important than health and safety, but it cannot and will not be easily cast aside,” Barber wrote.

Once Penn State retools its fall sport schedules, it will “be in touch” with additional information regarding ticket sales and attendance protocols. Currently, student football season ticket sales are indefinitely delayed.

“We are in this together as a Penn State family, and greatly appreciate the continued support of our tremendous student-athletes,” Barber concluded.

Earlier this summer, Penn State brought 75 football student-athletes back to campus in the first phase of its Athletics’ return. Over the following weeks, additional football, basketball, soccer, and volleyball student-athletes made their way back to campus for voluntary workouts as well.

When Barbour last spoke to the media, she mentioned Penn State plans to limit Beaver Stadium attendance to season ticket holders if fans are permitted. She also added no student-athletes have tested positive for the coronavirus so far.

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About the Author

Matt DiSanto

Matt proudly served as Onward State’s managing editor for two years until graduating from Penn State with distinction in May 2022. Now, he’s off in the real world doing real things. Send him an email ([email protected]) or follow him on Twitter (@mattdisanto_) to stay in touch.

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