Dear College Football fans,
What strange times we are living in 2020, isn’t it?
With COVID-19 still spreading throughout the United States and the world, the sports world has taken extra precautions in order to make sure players and fans are safe.
The MLS, MLB, NBA and now NFL are back into somewhat of a regular rotation, which provides somehow of a normalcy to the uncertain world.
But, things are anything but normal.
Sadly, there is one thing missing at sports events, which sucks the life right out of it-- the fans.
And now, COVID-19 is affecting something near and dear to my heart.
According to ABC 27, Penn State University, my alma mater, announced there will be no fans in attendance at fall sporting events.
Yes, that includes football.
It's a tough pill to swallow.
Some schools, like Ohio State, have planned for 20% capacity, with additional safety precautions implemented.
When over 100,000 people are there to watch football together, there's nothing like it-- the energy, the excitement, the camaraderie.
And in a place like State College besides, there isn't much else to do, if we're being honest.
It’s a college football town and it's all anyone cares about.
From a local standpoint, the Oregon Ducks and Oregon State Beavers have yet to put into place gameday fan attendance guidelines. We know there will be no tailgating, at the very least.
The outlook for large sporting events – such as football games – is continuing to develop. The health and safety of our student-athletes and the broader campus community are the biggest factors we must consider. I do think it is unlikely that we’ll be able to pack Autzen Stadium this fall like we normally would, but the final decision on our game-day experience will be dictated by state and local health authorities. We’ll provide details as soon as they’re available. - University of Oregon President Michael Schill
The Pac-12 has adjusted is a conference-only schedule, which will start at the end of September.
But, it still feels like things are subject to change. Will the Pac-12 decide to follow Penn State's lead and go with ‘no fans’ this football season?
From a former D1 football player, speaking on behalf of other College football players, it will feel really weird not to have fans there.
Fans are just as important as the game-plan players prepare for the entire week leading up to games on Saturdays.
Those crucial 3rd down moments when fans are desperately needed to be as loud as they possibly can-- It helps.
Fans are just as part of the organization as players and what drives them to play better. Players and fans feed off each other.
Players at Penn State and across the nation are hurting, they're anxious. It has led to player unity groups for both the Pac-12 and Big 10. Players want their voices heard.
This year has been rollercoaster, which we can all agree on.
But, here we are.
Players will miss you. Cheer loudly from home.
And, as always, when you're out and about, please wear a mask.