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Penn State Football Says No Fans, Tailgates For Reinstated Season

Penn State football officially won’t bring fans or tailgaters to Beaver Stadium this fall, Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Sandy Barbour confirmed Thursday.

During a conference call, Barbour said the Big Ten collectively decided bringing fans to stadiums would put individuals at risk for spreading or contracting the coronavirus.

“We’ve made a decision as a conference not to have fans out of an abundance of caution,” Barbour said Thursday. “We’re really asking our Penn State nation to cheer us on, you know, have small home personal pods, watch parties, but do it safely.”

Although some fans drove up to Beaver Stadium on September 5 for what would’ve been the Nittany Lions’ season opener, Barbour stressed the tailgating lots must remain empty.

“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,” Barbour said. “This has always been about getting back to some normal activities but while doing it safely.”

Other Penn State administrators, including Vice President for Student Affairs Damon Sims, echoed that sentiment in a news release. The university said it would “absolutely not permit any tailgating in or around the stadium” or around campus.

Penn State added it will work with local law enforcement to support ordinances that limit large gatherings and require face masks to be worn when necessary. The university also said it will “aggressively reinforce” expectations for students and student organizations.

Player and staff families may be permitted to attend games, but plans haven’t been ironed out yet. Under current Pennsylvania guidelines, no more than 250 people are allowed to attend outdoor events.

To date, Penn State Athletics hasn’t announced any concrete plans for at-home watch parties or events on gamedays. In the spring, the department hosted a virtual Blue-White tailgate that garnered positive reviews from fans.

Penn State football’s season, along with the rest of the Big Ten, is set to begin the weekend of October 24.

The conference will implement daily, rapid coronavirus testing for student-athletes and mandate cardiac testing and treatment for those who test positive. Affected student-athletes won’t be able to return to the field for at least 21 days after testing positive.

The Big Ten hasn’t yet released its updated football schedule but is expected to later this week, according to Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez. The schedule will reportedly consist of nine games and allow the Big Ten to be eligible for this season’s College Football Playoff.

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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 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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