Penn State football is now scheduled to kick off the 2020 season Oct. 24, but there will be no fans allowed in the stands as part of the Big Ten’s recently announced return-to-play protocols. If you were considering showing up at Beaver Stadium to still tailgate before and during PSU homes games, well, we regret to inform you that will not be permitted, either.
In an e-mail to Penn State students sent Wednesday, the school’s athletic department explained that Pennsylvania’s COVID-19 rules will not allow for tailgating. “Under current state guidance, we will not be able to welcome fans to Beaver Stadium and tailgating will not be permitted in university lots on game days,” the note said.
That will no doubt come a disappointment to fans like Lions247 With Fight On State member “scsutherly,” who on Wednesday wrote on the Lions’ Pride Board, “I’ll be outside (of Beaver Stadium) in the parking lot peacefully protesting with some beers, a grill and satellite TV.”
Before the Big Ten season was put on hold back in early August, Penn State had spent months developing a plan in which as many as 23,000 fans could safely attend games in the 106,572-seat Beaver Stadium. The plan was quashed by Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, who declined to give PSU a waiver from state mandates limiting outdoor gatherings to 250 or fewer people and indoor gatherings to 50 or fewer people to fight the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
“I think at this point, it’s their concerns about where we are as a state and a commonwealth with the virus, and they’re not willing to extend it to that point at this point,” PSU athletic director Sandy Barbour said at the time. “Now, they’re open and we continue to work with them. So we’ll continue to work throughout this with them to see what flexibility might exist, either through some kind of innovation or through a change to improve conditions.”
Allowing or not allowing fans into Beaver Stadium for home games became a moot issue on two fronts. First, when the season was postponed. And Wednesday, Barbour said the Big Ten’s return-to-play protocols are not allowing paying fans into any of the conference’s stadiums.
“From the standpoint of what the resolution that the (council of presidents and chancellors) approved, we are not going to permit fans in general (the) sale of tickets,” Barbour said. “We are looking to see what we can do on a campus-by-campus basis to accommodate the families of our student-athletes, both home and away, as well as the families of staff. But as a conference, we’ve made a decision — no public sale of tickets.”
For now, at least, it looks like drinks in the fridge, a grill on the deck and a seat on the couch might well be Penn State tailgaters’ best option for home games.