To Be There, Or Not to Be There . . . That IS the question

Penn State fans are not rookies when it comes to considering the question “is there going to be a football season?” It was not all that long ago–2012 to be exact, when many fans were wondering if there was going to be another season for Penn State football or would the NCAA deliver the “death penalty” to a once proud and successful program.

Fast forward to 2020. Fans–across the country–are now wondering, “will there be a football season this year?” Some already know. The Ivy League presidents have already voted and nixed a 2020 season amid COVID fears and uncertainties.

Choose Wisely . . .

Apparently the Pitt Athletic department has had to change its phone number due to the number of calls from programs across the country seeking Pitt’s advice on playing sports without fans.

Some schools have already considered the logistics of a shortened season (The Big Ten will only play Big Ten teams, and the season will likely be 9-10 games, although no revised schedule has been made public.) The University of Illinois has already issued some preliminary guidelines which include such things as a reduced stadium capacity (20% of 60,670 seats would max out at 12, 134) which is still under their 2019 average attendance figure of 36,702. Fans would only be able to purchase pre-packaged food, and no tailgating would be allowed. Fans would also be encourage to wear face masks. Helmets and foam fingers appear to be optional as well.

This is of course a fluid process at this point, with many athletic departments waiting closer until season kick-off to solidify their guidelines based on fluctuating state regulations (Pennsylvania currently does not allow groups larger than 250 which would mean NO fans if that is not changed,) and how the virus numbers pan out over the next month. Sharply rising numbers (cases and/or deaths) will likely slide the ultimate outcome toward a fan-less season, if any season at all.

Spring football is an option still on the table, but there is no guarantee that the situation risk-wise will be any better, and that also throws a monkey wrench into the normal NFL draft time-frame among other issues.

Just for the record people–a Vaccine does not solve this problem. We have had a flu vaccine for decades and 50-60,000 people still die each year from the regular flu. There is no data yet whether a vaccine will affect the death rate for this virus or not.

I have no crystal ball, and I apparently have no inside sources, but here is my prediction for whether there is or isn’t a season. I think there will be a season, shortened with rule changes in place to protect the players. There will be no fans. I just don’t see that happening. The logistics for PSU to determine which 20% get to go or not is a nightmare no one wants to wake up from. And you can pretty much assume that most fans will be unhappy whatever the final guidelines are. All or none is the better option even if only the Sith deal in absolutes.

Consider this: IF fans are allowed to attend, you are going to spread 20,000 or so fans throughout a 110,000 seat stadium. You will likely be asked to or forced to wear a mask, and probably not be allowed to cheer (yelling creates droplets that spread beyond six feet.) Concessions will be limited or non-existent. Tailgating will be prohibited. Flow of fans into and out of the stadium will be controlled–and keep in mind these jokers can’t even get your cars into and out of the parking lots without an hour of headaches.

Who would even want to go under these circumstances????

I have seen several options being thrown around–refunding the ticket cost for this season versus carrying a credit over to next year. (And what about the seat licensing fees and donations? Another logistic nightmare.) I might consider this if there is a guarantee that ticket prices won’t go up more than say 5-10%. But somewhere down the road, someone is going to have to pay for this lost season (or lost revenue season.) I’d rather it not be me. I am leaning strongly to just getting my money back because the future of large sporting events is likely going to change forever. This virus will do to sports what 9-11 did to air travel. You still enjoy that don’t you???


Filed under Penn State, sports, Uncategorized

3 responses to “To Be There, Or Not to Be There . . . That IS the question

  1. Carolyn Todd

    Eric I tend to agree with you about this season. If games happen I would probably still go though assuming social distancing is assured because you see different things in a game than you do when you watch on TV. Where I disagree with you is about the future. You seem to be very pessimistic. I am more optimistic that we will return to normal once COVID has viable vaccines and treatments.

  2. Pingback: A Long Overdue Union - The Nittany Turkey

  3. condomax

    I was looking for your take on the latest Big Ten on-again, off-again, on-again football scheduling machinations when I unwittingly navigated my web browser to this Lion’s Den:


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