Riley County Commission approved a 25 percent fan capacity for Bill Snyder Family Stadium for the upcoming college football season, Kansas State Athletics announced.
“Our plan is very detailed in how we intend to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 spread at a football game,” K-State athletic director Gene Taylor said. “We are implementing several new policies and will be strict in our enforcement in our best efforts to accomplish playing football games safely.”
To remain consistent with the mask requirement in Manhattan and the university policy, fans are required to wear a mask to enter and must continue to wear them over their mouth and nose when social distancing cannot happen.
Tailgating at games won’t be allowed to ensure that there are no large gatherings. The parking lot will be open two hours before kickoff, and fans are encouraged to enter the stadium immediately after arrival.
Fans will not be allowed to re-enter Bill Snyder Family Stadium to limit large gatherings at the gate exits.
For the first time ever, alcohol sales will be available for the general seating sections with multiple locations around the stadium. This had been previously limited to select sections such as the beer garden and other designated areas.
Additional protocols such as hand sanitizing stations and signs encouraging social distancing will be implemented.
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“While there is no reasonable way to guarantee that no fan could contract the virus, we will take every measure that we can to help,” Taylor said. “We all know our fans play a tremendous role in making our gameday environment one of the best in the Big 12, but ultimately each fan needs to make their own individual decision to attend games or not.”
While there may not be as many fans filling Bill Snyder Family Stadium this fall, assistant football head coach Van Malone says that his players understand the changes.
“Our players appreciate our fanbase and they appreciate the excitement that they have on gameday’s and they all understand that this is a moment of adjustments,” Malone said.
Senior running back Harry Trotter said he is excited for the opportunity to still play in front fans.
“I’m excited, it’s better than nothing,” Trotter said. “Some stadiums and some teams aren’t having fans at all.”
Athletics will announce new ticket options this week. The press release didn’t specify if students can attend football games.
The Wildcats have five home games this season, which include Big 12 games against Texas Tech, Kansas, Oklahoma State and Texas. The first home game is scheduled for September 12 against Arkansas State, which will be the first meeting with the Red Wolves since 1980. K-State is 2-0 all-time over Arkansas State.