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Penn State: No fans at football games

TIM WEIGHT/FOR THE EXPRESS If Penn State football has a season, there will be no fans in the stands in 2020.

UNIVERSITY PARK — If football games are played at Beaver Stadium this fall, it will happen without fans.

On Thursday, Penn State announced that it is preparing for the upcoming fall sports season without fans in attendance. And yes, that includes football. The announcement was made by Vice President of Intercollegiate Athletics Sandy Barbour in a letter to season ticket holders on Thursday morning.

“As of today, the current large group gatherings guidance from the Governor’s office limits capacity to 250 people for outside events and 25 people for inside events,” Barbour said in the letter. “Therefore, under the current conditions and current state orders, our fall sports events would be conducted without fans in the general seating areas of our facilities. We continue to work with the Governor’s office to discuss, and possibly be prepared for the opportunity to have spectators at our fall Penn State sporting events.”

As far as Penn State football season ticket holders are concerned, the athletic department has offered three options for those in possession of season tickets: turning season ticket purchases into a tax-deductible donation to the department; rolling 2020 season tickets into the 2021 season; and finally, a full refund.

Each option comes with additional benefits as well.

The impact of not having fans at football games will have massive financial ramifications on the university.

“Regardless of whether we play or don’t play, our revenue losses will be in the high eight figures,” Barbour said in the letter. “Reaching nine figures in the case of no competition. We cannot let this pandemic stall or wipe out all of the incredible work and progress that, with your help, our students and our programs have been able to achieve in the classroom, in our community and, of course, in our competitive venues.”

In the letter, Barbour told season ticket holders that plans could change if Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf changes the state’s guidelines.

“Despite the current state orders, we continue to refine our plans to welcome Nittany Lion fans, should the conditions and orders be revised to accommodate spectators at events,” Barbour wrote. “These plans will have the safety and well-being of our student-athletes, coaches, staff, fans and community at the forefront. Let me be clear; we will only enact these plans should the orders currently in place by the Governor and the PA Department of Health accommodate such activity based on conditions and public health advice.”

For more information about Penn State’s plan for fall sports, visit www.gopsusports.com.

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