Athletics rolls out altered fall schedules, implements new protocols

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Bill Snyder Family Stadium is just one of the many venues that will have to adapt to new COVID-19 protocols during the fall 2020 season. (File Photo by Logan Wassall | Collegian Media Group)

COVID-19 has taken plenty of things with it — including sports.

Now that the United States is starting to reopen, sports are slowly returning, but not without some changes at all levels.

Football

Kansas State football will be playing a nine plus one model schedule for the fall 2020 season. The model allows the Wildcats to have nine conference games and face on non-conference opponent.

This is different than the traditional twelve game format the Wildcats usually play each year. That model includes three non-conference games that are normally all played at the beginning of the season.

The season is also starting later than usual for the football team, as their season opener against non-conference foe Arkansas State is scheduled for Sept. 12 — the latest season opener for the Wildcats since the 90s.

The Big 12 Championship is stillset for Saturday, Dec. 12 and the College Football Playoff is scheduled to start on Jan. 1, 2021.

K-State will host five home games this year, with things looking a lot different in the stands. Bill Snyder Family Stadium was approved to have about 25 percent capacity on game days — equal to about 12,500 fans.

Fans that attend games must also abide by different policies to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Face coverings must be worn when inside Bill Snyder Family Stadium.

Tailgating was also eliminated from parking lots controlled by K-State Athletics and satellite lots that are operated by K-State groups. There will be no re-entry to the stadium once a spectator decides to leave as well.

Current K-State season ticket holders had the option to roll over their season tickets to the 2021 season and instead purchase one of the two mini-plan options for the 2020 season: a three-game mini-plan featuring the home opener against Arkansas State on Sept. 12, Texas Tech on Oct. 3 and Oklahoma State on Nov. 7, or a two-game min-plan featuring Kansas on Oct. 24 and Texas on Dec. 5.

Each student that purchased a student pass before the deadline will also receive a ticket for each football game.

The football team has also had a player opt-out this year over fears of the virus —senior defensive back Jonathan Alexander did so on Aug. 7. Alexander tested positive for the virus over the summer.

Volleyball

Last week, K-State volleyball revealed they would be playing a 16-match conference-only format for the 2020 fall season. In a normal volleyball season, Big 12 Conference teams play twice at different times in the season, with each team hosting the other once.

This type of scheduling format was changed to reduce travel for each team. Instead, the schedule will feature a two-match weekend series — Thursday through Saturday — at a singular location, with the matches played on consecutive days.

The team that earns the highest winning percentage across the season will be crowned Big 12 Champion at the end of the 16-match schedule. The conference championship will be the only title that teams across the country will be playing for this fall as the 2020 NCAA Volleyball tournament was postponed and could possibly be scaled back.

Although the volleyball team typically plays in Ahearn Field House throughout the season, the team moved all home matches to Bramlage Coliseum instead.

Fans will be allowed inside Bramlage — tickets are expected to be sold the day before each match. There is no word on what the capacity will be inside the Octagon of Doom, but with COVID-19 restrictions, there is bound to be a limit.

K-State Athletics has encouraged fans to order tickets digitally to help with lines at the ticket office before each match. Season tickets are also not being sold for the 2020 season. Game day policies and capacity limits are should be released at a later date before the season starts.

The volleyball team will start their season at home with two matches against Iowa State on Friday, Sept. 25 and Saturday, Sept. 26, both at 6:30 p.m. inside Bramlage.

Soccer

The soccer team will see its typical 18 match season cut in half this fall. All nine matches, just like other K-State sports, will be conference matches only.

The Wildcats will only be playing one match per week, and each match will be held on a Friday. The team will also bounce back and forth between home and away matches until Oct. 23 when K-State will host two consecutive away matches before finishing up their season at home on Nov. 6 against Oklahoma State — the Wildcats’ first match in November in team history.

It has yet to be determined how the Big 12 will be crowning its champion this year in soccer — whether there will be a Big 12 Tournament or if it will come down to the winning percentage. The 2020 Women’s Soccer College Cup was postponed as the NCAA looks to push national fall championships to the spring.

Just like with volleyball, soccer tickets will also only be available for purchase 24 hours before kickoff — fans will also being encouraged to purchase tickets online. There will be no season tickets for soccer.

Game day policies as well as capacity limitations for Buser Family Park remain uncertain.

K-State soccer will start their season at home at 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 11, against Texas Tech.

Cross Country

The men’s and women’s cross country teams had their usual six meet schedule scaled down to just four meets, including the Big 12 Championship meet.

All four of these meets will be held at conference affiliated locations. Two of the meets will be held in Lawrence — the KU Triangular to kick off the season on Sept. 19, and the Big 12 Championship on Oct. 30.

The other two meets will be held back to back in Stillwater, Oklahoma, with the Cowboy Jamboree on Oct. 3 and the Oklahoma State Invite on Oct. 17.

The NCAA has also canceled all regional and championship meets for the 2020 season.

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Cameron Bradley
Hey! I’m Cameron Bradley and I am the sports editor for the Collegian! I am a junior from Wichita, Kansas, and I am majoring in journalism. When I’m not working for the Collegian, I’m creating content and putting on broadcasts with K-StateHD.TV. I am also currently a member of the Sigma Tau Gamma fraternity. I love sports, spending time with friends, family and doing everything that I do for the glory of God!