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Sandy Barbour Announces ‘No Required Vaccination Proof’ For Penn State Athletic Events

Penn State Athletics will follow the university’s lead and not require proof of vaccination for fans this year, Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Sandy Barbour announced Saturday.

The athletic director met with the media to discuss the department’s approach to COVID-19 this year, most notably at Beaver Stadium.

“The required vaccination is not in our plan at this point,” Barbour said. “We’ve been following the CDC…What our fans can look forward to seeing is there are several adjustments as they relate to COVID.”

Barbour noted that some of Beaver Stadium’s gates have been adjusted to allow fans to spread out more, and Penn State will encourage fans to arrive earlier to try to limit long lines and crowding. She also explained that fans will not be required to wear masks outside at the stadium, but folks in indoor areas will need masking. A full list of indoor spots was not specified, but Barbour noted the press box and suites as areas where masks will be required.

She added that these policies could change based on the CDC’s guidance, but as of now Penn State will move forward with these plans for a full-capacity Beaver Stadium.

Barbour also noted that vaccination or negative test proof will not be required at other athletic events, but fans will need to wear masks at indoor events such as hockey and basketball. She added that Penn State’s decision to not require vaccinations for Beaver Stadium came from a place of trying to keep balance.

“Our campus leadership really felt like the position we’ve taken is one that balances to the highest degree, health and safety as well as personal choice,” Barbour said. “I think Penn State’s done a great job of balancing health and safety needs as well as everything else that’s going on in our world right now.”

Oregon and Oregon State became the first Power Five programs to require vaccination proof for their football fans on Friday. Both schools will require proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test for people over the age of 12 to attend games.

While Penn State Athletics won’t require vaccinations, Barbour is still encouraging fans to get the shot, and wear masks outside at Beaver Stadium if they feel comfortable. James Franklin made a clear plea for fans to get vaccinated at Penn State football’s media day earlier this month.

“This is not a political statement,” Franklin said. “The more people that can get vaccination, whether you completely agree with it or not…That gives us the best opportunity to be in that stadium and as close back to what we would describe as normal as possible.”

Barbour wasn’t necessarily as clear in her position Saturday, but she is asking fans to stay safe and vigilant.

“It’s a matter of us all being really smart and understanding that the virus, in some way, shape, or form, is still with us,” Barbour said. “I certainly would encourage as many as possible, I know there’s lot of folks that are, to be vaccinated. I would encourage folks that want to wear masks to certainly do that.”

Penn State football won’t play in Beaver Stadium until it hosts Ball State on Saturday, September 11. The Nittany Lions open the season on the road against Wisconsin at noon on September 4.

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About the Author

Will Pegler

Will is a senior majoring in digital and print journalism and is an associate editor for Onward State. He is from Darien, Connecticut and is a lifelong Penn State football fan. He loves a good 80's comedy movie, Peaky Blinders, The Office, and the New York Yankees and Giants. You can catch some of his ridiculous sports takes on his Twitter @gritdude and yell at him on his email [email protected]

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