There will be no fans in attendance when the University of Kansas football team kicks off its season Sept. 12 at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium.
In a message posted to the university’s website Monday, KU Chancellor Douglas Girod shared that the Jayhawks won’t have fans at any sporting events through the month of September.
The chancellor stated that KU’s pandemic medical advisory team recommended the measure.
Girod also made it clear that KU will continue to evaluate whether fans will be allowed to attend games beginning in October.
“We know this is disappointing to those of you who planned to be on campus to root for the Jayhawks,” Girod wrote in the message. “Our football, volleyball, soccer and cross country contests will not be the same without you there. But this is the right decision for our community at this time.”
Tailgating won’t be allowed for KU’s football opener against Coastal Carolina either, Girod pointed out in the message.
KU’s medical advisory team, on which Girod serves, consists of public health officials from the region. Girod said the team has been “instrumental” in KU’s efforts to start the fall semester “in a way that prioritizes health and safety.”
According to Girod’s message, the advisory team will report back to fans on what attendance will look like in October “as we approach our second home football game” — Oct. 3 versus Oklahoma State.
In a letter to KU fans authored by Athletic Director Jeff Long and published to the KU Athletics website following Girod’s announcement, Long said KU’s ticket office staff began mailing season tickets Monday in anticipation of being able to have fans for the Jayhawks’ final four home games.
Kansas Athletics, Girod added, will reach out in the days ahead to fans who already have tickets for upcoming home games and events.
Earlier Monday, Kansas Athletics and the Williams Education Fund announced the creation of the Jayhawk Relief Fund, while asking donors to help the athletic department deal with its ongoing financial issues caused by COVID-19.
“It is clear the pandemic will have a significant impact on our finances for the 2021 fiscal year and beyond,” Long stated in a news release. “In an effort to keep Kansas Athletics strong, it has become evident we needed to create this relief fund to assist our department in a time of unexpected financial need. We have already taken measures as an department by implementing staff salary reductions, furloughs and budgetary cuts and unfortunately will need to do so again this fall.”
Elsewhere in the Big 12, most plans currently involve welcoming a significantly reduced crowd to home football games.
Kansas State is set to open Bill Snyder Family Stadium at approximately 25% capacity (about 12,500).
That’s proven to be a popular percentage in the conference, with Oklahoma, TCU, Texas and Texas Tech going with 25%, as well.
Iowa State Athletic Director Jamie Pollard said Monday the Cyclones will allow 25% capacity in their Sept. 12 opener, and if ISU’s COVID-19 measures for having fans prove successful, the athletic department will allow all season ticket holders (40.7% capacity) to attend the Oct. 3 home game against Oklahoma. If measures aren’t followed though, Pollard warned, ISU won’t allow fans at future home games this season.
West Virginia is currently the only other Big 12 program not allowing fans at its season opener.
In the first game of the Les Miles era at KU in 2019, the Jayhawks had a stated attendance of 32,611 fans for their opener versus Indiana State.
KU averaged about 33,874 fans for its seven home dates during Miles’ first season, with the venue selling out (47,233) for the Jayhawks’ rivalry game versus Kansas State.
Sept. 12 — Coastal Carolina
Sept. 19 — open
Sept. 26 — at Baylor
Oct. 3 — Oklahoma State
Oct. 10 — open
Oct. 17 — at West Virginia
Oct. 24 — at Kansas State
Oct. 31 — Iowa State
Nov. 7 — at Oklahoma
Nov. 14 — open
Nov. 21 — Texas
Nov. 28 — TCU
Dec. 5 — at Texas Tech