No predictions from AD on fans in the stands

The Four Percent


Berry Tramel, The Oklahoman
Published 4:41 p.m. ET June 10, 2020


Sports Pulse: College football offseason programs are set to come back on time but at what risk?


OKLAHOMA CITY — No predictions. Lots of planning, but no predictions.

That was Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione’s message to football fans anxious to know what the 2020 season might look like in terms of stadium capacities.

“The decisions haven’t been made,” Castiglione said Wednesday on a zoom call with reporters. “All we can do is focus on the preparation. When I say we’re optimistic and hopeful that we would have a stadium near or full capacity, that’s not me predicting that’s going to happen. When I say we might be at 50 percent capacity, that’s not me predicting that’s going to happen. When it could be at any smaller capacity, there’s no prediction in anything I’m saying.

“All I’m saying is we’re working diligently to prepare to adjust to anything that we can allow.”

A variety of optimistic reports has surfaced in recent weeks that raise hopes of college football returning to some degree of normalcy in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. But Castiglione says Oklahoma is not ready to make any decisions.

Fans at Gaylord Family – Oklahoma Memorial Stadium watch the Sooners face the Texas Tech Red Raiders in 2019. (Photo: Kevin Jairaj, USA TODAY Sports)

“We’re trying to accommodate those that want to come,” Castiglione said. “And we’re planning on that as one option. But we’re also working through what other types of options that would include social distancing.

“When you think of that, you’re talking about a significant reduction in seating capacity or people in the stadium and the financial impact related to how many you’re actually able to let in the stadium. For us, it hasn’t been determined exactly yet. But we would be operating at somewhere less than 50 percent.”

Castiglione said the capacity number will be dependent upon how tickets are grouped. Groups could included two, four, six or even eight season-ticket holders.

OPINION: As charges players pile up, Iowa coach ill-equipped to lead change

USC: Reunites with former Heisman winner Reggie Bush after 10 years

FLORIDA STATE: Seminoles football player tests positive for coronavirus

“Depending on the season-ticket accounts and how we work through a system by both allocation and seat assignment, it’s hard to know exactly how many we would accommodate,” Castiglione said. “I know some schools have already acknowledged a certain number. But we’re not wanting to acknowledge a number yet until we know some more details.”

Castiglione said his staff has been engaged with national experts on grouping people while maintain social distancing. He said Oklahoma is working on a concept that would allow fans to maintain social distancing “from driveway to driveway … the least amount of contact with people or things.”

Those concepts include digital ticket, which OU already has announced, and electronic ordering of concession items, probably for pre-packaged items in express lanes.

Castiglione said his staff will make any major decisions in conjunction with Gov. Kevin Stitt, Norman mayor Brea Clark, local and state health authorities, the OU board of regents and president Joe Harroz.

Castiglione said he would like to see a reasonable timeline determined, “so we all know when a decision could be made. We don’t have that yet, either. People have used ranges of times. We know we don’t need to make that decision today, but we can’t be making that decision August 28. We need time to implement whatever approach we would take and, obviously, be able to inform those that will have the access to come to the games.”

Castiglione was asked explicitly about the September 26 game at Army.

“There really isn’t any change in the game itself, the date, the expectation,” Castiglione said. “Don’t get me wrong. We’re fully aware and mindful of anything that could change that at the moment. Whether that game happens or not, whether there’s fans allowed to be in the stands or not, those are decisions that haven’t been made. There hasn’t’ been any indication around any particular change related to that game or any game for that matter.

“But you all know that we’ve spent a great deal contingency planning in a lot of different ways. Having games. Shortened seasons, games with fans, games with limited number of fans, obviously games without fans. We’re still again very hopeful and optimistic that the season can get started on time and we can play a 12-game schedule and accommodate as many fans as they feel comfortable being there. We don’t have any more information at this point in time.”


Show Thumbnails

Show Captions

Last SlideNext Slide


Source link Sports

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.