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Iowa State reverses course, first football game to be played with no fans

Published: Sep. 2, 2020 at 1:36 PM CDT
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AMES, Iowa (KCRG) - The only university to play major college football in Iowa this fall has changed its mind about allowing fans to its first home game, according to officials.

Jamie Pollard, Iowa State University’s athletic director, made the announcement on Wednesday. The school had originally intended to allow 25,000 fans in the stadium, but the institution’s president Dr. Wendy Wintersteen decided against it on Tuesday evening. Wintersteen cited the “feedback she has received from the community,” according to Pollard.

“Our department has always taken great pride in working hand-in-hand with the university and this situation is no different,” Pollard said, in a statement. “We are in this together and will do everything we can to support Dr. Wintersteen and her leadership team in their efforts to lead our institution during very challenging times.”

Pollard said that he was disappointed in the decision, but said the school will still try to have fans at future home games. He said how the campus responds to a surge in coronavirus cases will likely affect whether or not that is able to happen. The next home game in Ames is on October 3 against Oklahoma.

At her Wednesday briefing in Johnston, Gov. Kim Reynolds was asked about the school’s decision to allow fans. She said that it was important to strike a balance between the safety and health of Iowans with the tough economic impact limiting or excluding fans would have on college towns.

“We have to have personal responsibility, we have to be aware of what the data is, and then we have to make decisions based on that,” Reynolds said. “So, if you have underlying conditions and are part of a vulnerable population, maybe I wouldn’t go to the Iowa State football game next week. It’s 25,000 out of a capacity of 61,500. It is outdoors, they should, I’m sure, wear a mask. And, I think, if we put the mitigation steps in place, we can continue to move through.”

The game on Saturday, September 12, against Louisiana-Lafayette, starts at 11:00 a.m. and is scheduled to air on ESPN.

Read the full statement from Iowa State AD Jamie Pollard below:

“Our department staff and I have worked very closely with Dr. Wintersteen and her leadership team throughout the summer as we jointly developed plans for this fall’s football season. Over the weekend, Dr. Wintersteen gave our working group the approval to move forward with the plans that were jointly developed. Our department announced those plans on Monday, which included allowing fans, who purchased season tickets, to attend the first game.

President Wintersteen shared with me on Tuesday evening that, after weighing feedback she has received from the community, she has decided to reverse the decision. As a result, we will play the season opener without fans.

Our department has always taken great pride in working hand-in-hand with the university and this situation is no different. We are in this together and will do everything we can to support Dr. Wintersteen and her leadership team in their efforts to lead our institution during very challenging times.

Although it is disappointing there won’t be fans at the opener, our institution’s leadership team is still committed to having spectators at future games, if it can be done safely. Weighing how our campus community responds to the recent surge in positive COVID cases will be a significant factor as to whether we can have fans at future games. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and make a decision regarding fans for the Oklahoma game (Oct. 3) at a later date.”

Copyright 2020 KCRG. All rights reserved.

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