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Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Final 2 KU football home games to be played without fans

KU athletics going without spectators for rest of November

Kansas and Coastal Carolina warm up under the lights on Saturday, Sept. 12, 2020. The game was the season opener for both teams and, with fans not allowed to attend, it featured very few of the normal sights and sounds surrounding David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium.

Kansas and Coastal Carolina warm up under the lights on Saturday, Sept. 12, 2020. The game was the season opener for both teams and, with fans not allowed to attend, it featured very few of the normal sights and sounds surrounding David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium.

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The University of Kansas’ chancellor announced Tuesday that no fans will be allowed at home sporting events for the rest of November because of the ongoing surge of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in the region.

This news will affect two volleyball matches, two football games and two women’s basketball games this month. The first home men’s basketball game will not occur until December. Chancellor Douglas Girod said the Pandemic Medical Advisory Team, which aided in the decision to cancel attendance for the November sporting events, has not yet discussed what will happen at December home games.

Girod said he would be consulting the group regarding December events this week and would "communicate updates with you as appropriate.”

“We know this is disappointing to those of you who planned to be on campus to root for the Jayhawks,” Girod said in the announcement. “While we are not aware of any incidents of COVID-19 transmission at any home athletics competitions this year, the recent spike in cases and hospitalizations makes it unwise to host fans at this time.”

KU women's basketball coach Brandon Schneider released a statement Thursday night to the Journal-World in which he expressed how he and his team were feeling about the news.

“We’re obviously disappointed that our fans will not be able to support us in person as we open the season," Schneider said. "However, we strongly support the leadership of our university and department as they’ve had some very difficult decisions to make throughout the pandemic.”

• • •

When the university wants to bring back fans, however, it likely won’t face opposition from the county health department.

On Thursday, the health department decreased the county’s mass gathering limit from 45 to 15 because of increasing cases of COVID-19 in the community. While it might seem like the order would stop KU from allowing fans at athletic events, George Diepenbrock, a spokesman for the health department, said that was not necessarily the case.

Diepenbrock said KU could host fans if the university ensured that they were wearing masks and practicing social distancing.

“The health order defines a mass gathering as instances in which individuals are in one location and are unable to maintain a 6-foot distance between individuals (not including individuals who reside together) with only infrequent or incidental moments of closer proximity,” Diepenbrock said in an email.

KU allowed approximately 10,000 fans — a little more than 21% of the stadium’s capacity of 47,233 — to attend home football games in October. The athletic department capped attendance at 400 for soccer matches and 250 for home volleyball matches.

• • •

In an email the athletic department sent to fans following Girod’s announcement, Athletic Director Jeff Long said returning to a no-fans policy was intended to help “flatten the curve and drastically reduce the positive rates we are currently experiencing.”

“Although we have been able to host large crowds safely so far this season at multiple sporting venues — thanks in large part to the commitment of our fans to wearing masks and remaining socially distanced — we must do what is best for our community as the infection rate spikes once again,” Long said in the email.

Long also urged fans to follow CDC and local health recommendations so KU could have “a small crowd” inside Allen Fieldhouse for men’s basketball games as planned. In October, Long said in an email to season ticket holders that the university expected capacity for games at Allen Fieldhouse to be around 1,500 fans, just under 10% of the venue's 16,300-seat capacity.

“As we’ve learned from the onset of this pandemic, everything remains a fluid situation that can quickly change week to week,” Long said in Tuesday’s email.

The email also said fans who already purchased tickets to home games in November could get a refund for their tickets or a credit for future ticket purchases, or they could transfer the ticket balance to KU’s Williams Education Fund.

On Tuesday evening, KU women's basketball coach Brandon Schneider said in a statement emailed to the Journal-World that he thought the university made the right decision.

“We’re obviously disappointed that our fans will not be able to support us in person as we open the season," Schneider said. "However, we strongly support the leadership of our university and department as they’ve had some very difficult decisions to make throughout the pandemic.”

Games affected

Here are the KU home games in November where fans won’t be allowed.

• Football: Saturday vs. Texas; Nov. 28 vs. TCU.

• Volleyball: Thursday and Friday vs. Texas Tech.

• Women’s basketball: Nov. 25 vs. Northern Colorado; Nov. 29 vs. Texas A & M Corpus Christi.

Comments

Len Shaffer 1 week, 2 days ago

Glad they've come to their senses.

But come on, Covid deniers, where's your outrage? I mean we've only had almost 250,000 (and probably a lot more, given that our info. isn't as reliable as it should be) people die in eight months from this pandemic? Why not risk some more lives so they can attend a football game. (And BTW, for the imbecile who accused me of going overboard when I referred to it as a "raging pandemic" recently, if losing a quarter of a million people in eight months doesn't qualify as "raging," then what exactly does???)

Marc Frey 1 week, 2 days ago

Covid is here for a minimum of 18 months. Even after a vaccination, it will be herd immunity. Sadly, more will die. Mostly the elderly, protect them. KU football games and other sports are not covid hot zones. At least follow the science.

Ryan Mullen 1 week, 2 days ago

That sucks! I really wanted to go!!! Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha

Bryce Landon 1 week, 2 days ago

This pandemic is doing you people a huge favor. It's sparing you the agony of sitting in that hellhole of a stadium watching such a putrid football team lose game after game after game.

ON IOWA!

Marc Frey 1 week, 2 days ago

Bryce, I'm a Jayhawk, through thick and think. Wife and daughter are UW Madison grads, so I get to root against your Hawkeyes. My son is a Baylor grad, but works for Oklahoma State Athletics..Learfield/IMG. So I have plenty of other teams to root for. But KU is always #1 puppy in my kennel.

Dane Pratt 1 week, 2 days ago

If I was going to abandon the Jayhawks I think I could find a better program to support than Iowa which is better known for corn than football. That’s like defecting from Russia so you can live in Bulgaria. Have you never heard of Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State…

Len Shaffer 1 week, 2 days ago

Excellent point, Dane. I guess we can't really call Bryce a frontrunner; he's more like a middle-runner.

Steven Haag 1 week, 2 days ago

1.35 million people die per year in vehicle accidents. Another estimated 20-30 million don’t die, but suffer permanent injuries. We MUST take all vehicles away from people. 1.35 million is too many. We can save many lives. People shouldn’t be “allowed to choose” if they want to get inside a vehicle and drive. We must take all vehicles away....now!!!!!

Robert Brock 1 week, 1 day ago

Steven Haag - boo hoo. It’s a disease run amuck. The Kansas Flu aka the Spanish Influenza killed more than 50 million people.

But, but, but it was just the FLU says Steven Haag.

Steven Haag 1 week, 1 day ago

@Robert Brock. Are you really that naive. You can’t flip flop. Take a stand and then OWN it. Grab a pair, be a man. Even if the stance turns out to be wrong. It’s part of growing up. The “narrative” for COVID is to prevent, to the greatest extent possible”......loss of life. By that definition, my claim on vehicles holds water. It’s valid. 35,000 die each year from cirrhosis of the liver. Outlaw and ban alcohol. 606,500 die from lung cancer.....with smoking being the major factor in that. Ban and outlaw all cigarettes and cigars. 300,000 die of obesity each year. We need to abolish every fast food restaurant. We can save over 1 million lives annually. But, we only seem to be concerned about COVID.......why? Things that make you scratch your head and go HHMMMM?????

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