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Mixed reactions from University of Iowa students following Big Ten announcement

Published: Sep. 16, 2020 at 10:51 PM CDT
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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) - Students on the University of Iowa campus reacted to Wednesday’s news that the Big Ten decided to hold an eight-game football season, starting the weekend of Oct. 24, with a mix of feelings from excitement to nervousness.

Senior Cameron McCoy from Altoona said the conference’s previous decision to postpone its football season until the spring made it feel “like there wasn’t life on campus.”

“But honestly, there’s a new hope today and a sense of normalcy coming back,” he said.

The Big Ten said tickets to this fall’s football games won’t be sold to the public.

But that didn’t quell every student’s concerns.

“[I’m] just as nervous,” said Roger Bundridge, a freshman from Murray, Iowa. “Even having just clubbing and frat parties and stuff without the tailgating, as of currently, we still had a humungous spike in cases, so bringing tailgating into the mix doesn’t seem like it’ll have a good result.”

Iowa’s athletic department said university parking lots will not be open to the public on game days.

But several students who spoke with TV9 on Wednesday all said they believe house parties and tailgates will still happen in other areas around campus and Kinnick Stadium.

“It’s kind of a, take it into your own hands,” McCoy said. “We can’t control other people, unfortunately. Is it a great idea? No. But ultimately, college students are going to do what they want to do.”

“It’s going to be pretty wild, especially in Iowa City, unfortunately, but hopefully we can keep it down a little. As long as the players are safe, I’d say that’s our main priority. That’s all I care about. I just want to see them play,” sophomore Max Lesnik of Cedar Rapids added.

Even with those restrictions, Johnson County Public Health said it does have health and safety concerns with game day and the fanfare surrounding it returning.

Community Health Manager Sam Jarvis said the safest route for any event right now is a virtual approach.

He said part of their work this fall is making sure the people know to continue taking the steps they’ve been stressing since the spring, especially social distancing and wearing face coverings, and getting that message to people who might be hosting tailgates, house parties, and other gatherings is an important component.

“Is it concerning? Certainly, on some degree,” Jarvis said. “We can anticipate this might increase cases, but we’re also hopeful at this point, everyone continues to remember how important that it is that we implement all of these strategies to keep transmission low in our community.”

The University of Iowa said students are expected to follow the health and safety guidelines that they agreed to follow when they returned to campus, including wearing a face covering in public and social distancing.

Students told TV9 that as of Wednesday, they hadn’t received any game day-specific guidelines or protocol from the university that they’re being asked or required to follow.

Copyright 2020 KCRG. All rights reserved.

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