“Every time you think, ‘OK, this is how I think we’d do this,’ it pops up a new thing.”

Okay, you’re a bog standard college AD struggling with the logistics of a stadium opening this season.  Which of these two problems causes you more sleepless nights?


Another option, one this Power 5 school is leaning toward, is dividing the games into different ticket packages. For instance, at a school like Alabama, that could mean creating one ticket package that features home games against Georgia, Texas A&M, and Kent State and another of Auburn, Mississippi State and Georgia State. You’d still risk upsetting fans who can’t go to every game, but it’d ensure far more fans can at least get into some games. And you could still let your top donors have first pick on the ticket package and seats they want.

“More palatable to give everyone a little taste,” the administrator said.

Or this:

Another major logistical challenge is getting everyone in and out of the stadium. If you’ve ever attended a college football game, you’ve been stuck on a long line waiting to get through a metal detector and ticket-checkers to get into the stadium. Now add in temperature checks for everyone coming in, a popular suggestion, and imagine how many people could get bunched up together in one place. If you somehow succeed at getting everyone in a timely fashion without being on top of each other, you need to get those same thousands of people out of the stadium.

“You expect 15,000 college football fans to exit in an orderly fashion when their row number is called? I’m sorry, you’ve got a lot more faith in fans than I do, especially if some of them have been drinking,” said Zachary Binney, an epidemiologist at Emory University. “I don’t know how you reliably would keep people apart when they are entering and exiting a stadium.”

If you can safely figure out all those issues, the experts say, you then need to consider that six feet between fans might not actually be enough. The reason is that distance is based on an average of how people breathe and how far droplets typically travel when you cough or sneeze. But during a college football game, the average attendant isn’t breathing or talking at their normal interval the whole game — they are yelling. More yelling means particles could travel farther which means fans might actually have to be more like 10 or 12 feet away from each other, according to Gandhi, rather than the established six feet. That could cut down stadium capacity even below the 20 percent range.

Push comes to shove, I’d guess number two there.  After all, seeing your biggest donors get the coronavirus from attending a game isn’t a particularly good business plan.



Filed under College Football, The Body Is A Temple

30 responses to ““Every time you think, ‘OK, this is how I think we’d do this,’ it pops up a new thing.”

  1. Gaskilldawg

    My guess (and that is all it is, a guess) is that the most common 2020 season approach in the SEC will be to go ahead and open the gates to everyone with a ticket. No refunds to anyone.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Russ

      When it gets down to it, I could see them rolling the dice and opening up admission to see how it plays out. Any bump in infection rate would be passed off as “seasonal variation”.


    • Dipping the herd, so to speak.


    • Erskine

      We have laws and rules that include severe punishment, but still there are those who voluntarily choose to breaks these rules on a daily basis.
      We have laws and rules with varying degrees of enforcement. And we also have to contend with the mindset of those that have the me first/ it does apply to me attitude.
      Whether they allow full attendance or apply restrictions those that want to break the rules carry/ spread the virus will do so regardless of any/all preventative precautions. No need to presume you will get 100 percent compliance obviously (and realistically probably not close to 70 percent).
      I believe the decision maker are taking these factors into account as they weigh the options. Given these factors do the universities take on the risk?
      I do not believe they will accept the liability unless/until they can get some form of protection/waiver of responsibility.
      In the event attendance is allowed for week one, what is the over/under on the number of COVID 19 cased that will be reported/confirmed the following week correlating to someone claiming attendance at a game, 10 50 100? Senator, that may be a pole question or part of the pool contest (possibly the tie breaker).


  2. DawgFaithful

    If everyone is wearing a mask, can droplets still go flying when people yell?


    • Wearing a mask for a noon start versus East Tennessee State? No thanks.

      If the universities really want a physically distanced crowd, mandate wearing a mask to enter.


    • David Hitchcock

      I agree with this. If they mandate and enforce the wearing of masks by all fans at all times in and around the stadium, they can get away with allowing more fans in and letting them be closer to each other.

      It would have to be well known in advance as a condition of entry: no mask, and you aren’t allowed to attend.


      • Ricky McDurden

        Unfortunately, bringing a mask and wearing a mask are two different things. To the ETSU point, most fans are going to ditch those in the first quarter and dare someone to tell them to leave for not wearing it (not to mention some people seem incapable of properly wearing a mask when they do make an attempt).
        The worry for me this whole time has never been the precautions I can take but the lack of social responsibility of those around me. People just don’t give a shit about other people if they have to be inconvenienced in the process.


  3. BuffaloSpringfield

    September 93 degree day – 12:00 kickoff – 90% humidity-Mask – No Thank You


  4. Brandon M

    The CDC has come out and said recently that the main way this virus is transported person to person is through close contact via microdroplets from a sneeze or cough, not so much through contact with surfaces. Simple fix. Make masks required for entry and have staff patrolling making sure the masks stay on. You’re caught without one, you’re gone, no questions asked. If everyone was wearing a mask it seems the probability of spreading a virus across a large number of people in a stadium would go down significantly.


    • I think it would be entertaining television to watch if, in the last half of the 4th quarter with uf leading ut 27-24, ut driving on the uf 30, 3rd and six (Grantham) Junior the vowel and his cohorts are in full bellow. In the excitement of the moment Junior has slung his mask off in front stadium security and the rent-a-cops decide at that moment to have Junior either put his mask back on or exit the building.
      Very entertaining indeed. Highlight reel stuff…


  5. Normaltown Mike

    “bog standard”

    Had to look that up.

    Senator, Is this a phrase that’s always been a part of your vocab or did you pick it up at some point?


  6. Granthams replacement

    All or none. If it’s all – enter at your own risk. With donations UGA has approximately $60 million on the table. I’m confident in what happens on September 12th.


  7. W Cobb Dawg

    “You expect 15,000 college football fans to exit in an orderly fashion when their row number is called?”

    Considering how many of the people who post on the blog don’t seem to believe Covid exists, and/or their politics prevent wearing masks, even if we mobilized an army of temperature testers they wouldn’t maintain a safe distance and could be depended upon to circumvent any rules. Getting fans in and out might be far more problematic than the games.


    • Macallanlover

      While you are right about being skeptical of 15K CFB fans exiting orderly after a game, stop blowing smoke out of your ass and spreading BS to make some pathetic point. Why lie, and distort things? Just in your DNA?

      There is no “many of the people” who post on this blog who don’t believe COVID-19 exists. Maybe one brain injured person who doesn’t understand the question, or one or two who are tired of others who attack their position because they aren’t as extreme as the other party’s side of the issue. I have news for you, there is no right or wrong whether you are listening to medical “experts”, scientists, researchers, or world political “leaders”. Every possible position on the spectrum is occupied by someone from those categories, they are, and have been, all over the board. And you had better look at the date they are quoted, because each has shifted their position over tie, some completely doing a 180. So excuse the world for having a different take than you.

      And wearing masks (which ones, where exactly, for how long, of what material. etc.) has no relationship to someone’s politics, or party….zero. There has been quite a bit of discussion on that as well, with much flip-flopping. Now we are seeing modification on transmission of the disease, again. Just stop with putting politics into a much serious health/human crisis and perhaps we can move the ball toward the goal. This is the first significant crisis I have seen in America where the country was not able to come together to rally us forward. Pretty damned disgusting.


      • Paul

        Conceptually you are correct. This is a public health issue. Unfortunately some choose to make it a political issue. A subset of those do so aggressively, even militantly. It’s sad really.


  8. Otto

    You have hit on something with this article. The 6 feet is for the droplets in a sneeze, cough, or yelling/singing can go further as such it is why church services are center of restrictions and yes I am a church member. We can have the spread from yelling with football but with many more people. I see posts on social media of the hypocrisies of Walmart being safe but not a boutique shop or restaurants being closed to dine but take out being safe. It is about limiting social interaction and keeping open what is necessary without full blown government rationing. I won’t attend a game or concert for a long time, early next year if another outbreak does not occur would like be the earliest I’d attend a concert or game. I have late 30s/early 40s friends that have had it, former coworkers that in their new job had cube neighbors with it. It isn’t worth it for me. Is it for an Athletic Department? That is a multimillion dollar question. I do see masks as mandatory.


  9. Ben

    I serve at a church, and let me tell you, the logistics for even opening up for a usual crowd of 300 is nothing to scoff at.

    There are so many variables and so many unknowns. And when you find out something like 80% of infections come from close contact in an enclosed space? Yikes.

    As for temperature checks? Those things are simply theater. There’s no way they are going to be accurate, and people can take a small dose of a drug to reduce the temp. Does anyone really think someone won’t pop an ibuprofen to lower a 100* fever before the Bama game?


    • Rub hand sanitizer on the forehead, arm, whatever part you’re using to record temp. Wait about 2 heartbeats then shoot the area with the thermometer. The alcohol evaporating off the area will cool the surface several degrees for a few seconds.
      OTOH, my schools are requiring temperature checks upon entering the buildings, at a kiosk in the security vestibule. due to a lack of laser thermometers, a couple of schools had oral thermometers with the idea that you put the thermometer in a glove, put it in your mouth, count to ten , then record the temp. throw the glove away and sanitize the thermometer with an alcohol wipe and you’re good to go! Next person up.


  10. Debby Balcer

    The way guidance keeps changing I won’t worry about what they decide until closer to the season. SC did not even keep the same rules to open pools for four days. HOA boards had to through hoops to set up pool openings under 20% occupancy and now four days after opening it can be full occupancy. But the Governor said we could have another shut down too. They need to make plans but the guidelines will move continually.


    • Paul

      The government (CDC, NIH, somebody) needs to offer up some minimum guidelines everyone should follow. The CDC tried but the White House shelved them as ‘too prescriptive.’ I think prescriptive is precisely what folks are looking for at this point.


      • Prescriptive guidelines from the CDC is exactly what is needed and they need to be enforced. There should also be a desired and measurable result goal combined with a timeline for meeting that goal.
        This occurred to me during an earlier post this week. I don’t really care what someone “heard” or what someone “thinks” or what someone links to an article in a media source. Unless someone in a position of leadership is going to provide compulsory guidelines that everyone is to follow let us see the unadulterated data and we’ll continue to make or own choices.


  11. WIll (the other one)

    One other X factor not mentioned they ought to be thinking about: tailgating.
    Say you allow fans, but cap it at 15,000
    Do let 50K show up all over campus? Do you say “no tailgating, period” or compromise and say “yes, tailgating, but you have to social distance” and who/how many people enforce this either way?


  12. PTC DAWG

    If you’re scared, stay home. Seems simple to me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dylan Dreyer's Booty

      Everything seems simple to you. 😉


    • Debby Balcer

      Funny how that is the term chosen I am not scared I am aware of the risks and want to take proper precautions. The term scared is thrown about to make those who are reckless feel superior.


      • ATL Dawg

        Just ignore him Debby – he’s all talk. A couple of weeks ago, he was going on and on about how he would go to a game the next day if there was one. So I suggested he put his money where his mouth was and go ahead and buy tickets on Stubhub (since he doesn’t buy season tickets). Of course, he had no response. He’d rather just rant and rave.