It’s yet to be seen if thousands of Georgia Bulldog football fans will be admitted into games this fall, but University President Jere Morehead is hopeful for a packed house.
The University of Georgia is allowing student-athletes back to campus for voluntary workouts beginning June 8 while Morehead is continuously collaborating with fellow heads of SEC schools to determine their course of action for welcoming back students. As for allowing devout fans into the nearly 93,000-seat Sanford Stadium, Morehead is staying hopeful it can happen.
“Personally, I’m hoping that we don’t have to put any restrictions on at Sanford Stadium, but I have no idea what the public health experts are going to be telling us at that point and if they say we have to have social distancing or you have to wear masks then we’ll approach things as we’re advised to do so,” Morehead said via 247sports.com. “I expect it by the SEC on behalf of all of the schools coming up with comprehensive guidelines as they’ve done so far for our reopening efforts. We’ll just continue as 14 presidents to talk about those issues each week and see where we land in a month or so.”
Georgia was one of the first states to lift its coronavirus-related restrictions and saw its first round of business reopenings occur April 24. In the weeks since, the future of college football has slowly started to take shape as the NCAA lifted its moratorium to allow athletes to conduct on-campus workouts on an individual, voluntary basis. The governing body has also offered its suggestions for schools to safely welcome student-athletes back to campus while mitigating the spread of COVID-19.
Schools are advised to coordinate with their local health experts, though state directives could ultimately influence whether fans are admitted into stadiums and if so, how many. Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer previously said that she doesn’t believe the state’s pro and collegiate football stadiums should be full come September while Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said that there will be fans, though the exact number allowed inside games is yet to be determined. Meanwhile, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott this week moved the state into its third phase of reopening and will now allow outdoor stadiums to be filled at 50 percent capacity.