Fall sports are a go in the Big 12, but questions linger about fans in stadiums

K-State fans cheer on their football team during their game against TCU at Bill Snyder Family Stadium on Oct. 19, 2019. The Wildcats took down the Horned Frogs 24-17. (File Photo by Logan Wassall | Collegian Media Group)

After a long wait and many twists and turns, the Big 12 Conference gave the go ahead for fall sports. For the Wildcats, that means the football season will kick-off on Sept. 12 against their one nonconference opponent Arkansas State at home.

For some, this is good news, but there are some additional details that are still uncertain. One question in particular remains unanswered: Will fans be in attendance at Bill Snyder Family Stadium?

In a teleconference on Wednesday, Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby didn’t say whether or not fans would be allowed in stadiums. He did, however, say that if the public is welcomed into the stands, capacity would need to be low.

Athletic director Gene Taylor had a little more to say on this topic in his press conference on Wednesday morning, but he remains unsure at the moment as well.

“Our operations staff, our marketing staff, our ticketing staff, our Ahearn Fund members putting plans, actually multiple plans together — working with our county to get that go ahead with whatever number of fans we are going to be allowed to have,” Taylor said. “We do know it is going to be limited. We just don’t know what that limit is going to be. Until we get that word, we just have our plans in place.

Taylor said he hopes a more concrete plan will be released in the next few days.

While it is up to the Big 12 and the athletic directors to decide if there will be fall sports this year, Taylor did say the final approval for crowd size will come from local health officials.

The current health order in Riley County limits gathering sizes to 50 people, but has established an approval process to request permission to host larger events at the discretion of local leaders.

“The county health department and the folks at the county are the ones who give us that number and that go ahead at some point,” Taylor said.