The University of Virginia (UVA) athletics department announced Friday that no fans will be allowed at fall sporting events until further notice, including football.
The current state guidelines for sports venues under the Forward Virginia plan put in place by the Commonwealth allow for less than 50 percent occupancy of the facility or 1,000 people.
“We are excited that our student-athletes have the opportunity to return to competition soon, but unfortunately, we will have to do so without fans to start the season as we follow the state and local agency guidelines regarding the operation and capacity of our athletic venues,” said Virginia Director of Athletics Carla Williams in the release.
UVA also said that should the state adjust attendance numbers allowed at sports venues, the university athletics department will make an announcement on the new capacity guidelines or other protocols to attend competitions.
Having no fans or students in attendance will undoubtedly change the environment and atmosphere of home games, but UVA teams will not be playing in completely empty stadiums.
Families of student-athletes will be allowed to attend games as well as each team’s coaching staff. The release does not specify how families will be seated or if season ticket holders will be offered a refund or other compensation.
“I honestly haven’t heard about the fan regulation when it comes to UVA football games, but either way, our team will be ready to answer the call,” said Charles Mack, a team graduate assistant, in an interview with the The Virginia Star. “[Games will] probably resemble more like a practice where players have to bring their own energy but still stay focused and execute.”
The Cavaliers averaged 47,811 fans per game last season and brought in crowds of more than 52,000 people in three home games, according to The Daily Progress.
“These are unprecedented times and we are thankful for the patience and continued support of everyone,” Williams said in the release. “I encourage everyone to follow our teams on the ACC Network and our other television partners, the Virginia Sports Radio Network, VirginiaSports.com and our team’s social media accounts.”
The capacity guidelines apply to all fall sports home competitions at Scott Stadium (football), Klöckner Stadium (men’s and women’s soccer), Turf Field (field hockey), Memorial Gymnasium (volleyball) and Panorama Farms (cross country).
UVA athletics also announced Friday the finalized version of the 2020 football schedule.
Virginia will begin the season on Saturday, September 19th facing rivals Virginia Tech in Blacksburg.
The Cavaliers will host NC State (Oct. 10), North Carolina (Oct. 31), Louisville (Nov. 7), Duke (Nov. 14), Abilene Christian (Nov. 21) and Boston College (Dec. 5).
Besides week one at Virginia Tech, the football team will travel to Clemson (Oct. 3), Wake Forest (Oct. 17), Miami (Oct. 24) and Florida State (Nov. 28).
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