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Penn State to have no fans at any fall sports, including football

Nittany Nation

Fireworks go off over Beaver Stadium as the Penn State football teams takes the field before an NCAA college football game against Michigan in State College, Pa., Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Penn State Athletics will not allow fans at any sporting events this fall, per guidelines from the Governor’s office and Deptartment of Health. The outdoor gathering limits currently stand at 250 people and 25 for indoor gatherings, thus prohibiting fans attending games. If the guidelines from the Governor change, Penn State will explore reintroducing fans.

Letter from Penn State Athletic Director Sandy Barbour:

As you may have seen, the Big Ten announced the 2020 football schedule and medical protocols yesterday and we expect additional fall sport schedules to be announced in the coming days and weeks.

We continue to plan for a safe return to campus and to sports and remain hopeful our student-athletes will be back in action this fall. We have been in communication with the Governor’s office throughout this process and have worked actively with University leadership, Big Ten, NCAA and State and County public health officials.

As of today, the current large group gatherings guidance from the Governor’s office limits capacity to 250 people for outside events and 25 people for inside events. Therefore, under the current conditions and current state orders, our fall sports events would be conducted without fans in the general seating areas of our facilities. We continue to work with the Governor’s office to discuss, and possibly be prepared for the opportunity to have spectators at our fall Penn State sporting events.

Despite the current state orders, we continue to refine our plans to welcome Nittany Lion fans, should the conditions and orders be revised to accommodate spectators at events. These plans will have the safety and wellbeing of our student-athletes, coaches, staff, fans and community at the forefront. Let me be clear; we will only enact these plans should the orders currently in place by the Governor and the PA Department of Health accommodate such activity based on conditions and public health advice.

Penn State Athletics has always and will always put the health, safety and education of our students as our top priority. The current COVID-19 environment is no exception. Your support and generosity have always been the cornerstone of our ability to provide our coaches, staff and students with the resources necessary to meet our students’ needs in those areas. You have ALWAYS supported our students at our times of the most acute need. This is one of those moments.

Regardless of whether we play or don’t play, our revenue losses will be in the high eight figures, reaching nine figures in the case of no competition. We cannot let this pandemic stall or wipe out all of the incredible work and progress that, with your help, our students and our programs have been able to achieve in the classroom, in our community and, of course, in our competitive venues. On March 12, 2020, when the NCAA Winter Championships were cancelled and our spring sports were halted, your Nittany Lions were in position to complete one of the best years in our history. All this with record-setting academics as the backdrop. We need to be in position to come out of the pandemic with a running start, and we need your support to do that.  

We have taken many steps to minimize our potential losses by implementing salary reductions across the department for this fiscal year, restricting travel and reducing operational budgets, and pushing some projects and initiatives to a later date. These steps have allowed us to avoid the tough decisions other schools have already had to make, like eliminating sports or laying off employees. But our financial challenges will be immense, and I know as proud Nittany Lions, you will show your pride and support in as many ways as your individual, family and business situation will allow. We Are…grateful!

Your assistance for Penn State Athletics and our over 800 dedicated student-athletes, starts with selecting an option to address your 2020 football season ticket commitment in light of the current capacity restrictions in Beaver Stadium. We would like nothing more than to have a full 2020 season with 107,000 of the Penn State faithful cheering on the Nittany Lions, but COVID-19 clearly had other plans. There are three options for your 2020 football ticket payment:

  1. Convert Your 2020 Football Season Ticket Purchase into a Tax-Deductible Donation
    • Season ticket holders can opt to turn their entire 2020 football season ticket (ticket and seat contribution) and parking cost into a tax-deductible donation to the Levi Lamb Fund.
    • Season ticket holders who are paid in full will be guaranteed a price freeze for their 2021 football season ticket(s). A seat contribution will still be required in 2021, but will also be frozen at the 2020 contribution levels.
    • Additional benefits for choosing this option include:
      • In the event the Governor’s orders regarding large group gatherings changes, you will get priority access to seats based on NLC Priority Points.
      • 100 NLC Priority Points (equivalent to a $5,000 donation).
      • Extended payment plan for 2021 football season tickets.
      • Exclusive Enter to Win opportunities throughout the year.
  2. Rollover to 2021 Football Season Tickets
    • Season ticket holders can opt to roll over their 2020 football season ticket (ticket price only) and parking payment to their 2021 football season tickets and parking.
    • The 2020 football seat contributions will be converted to a tax-deductible donation to the Levi Lamb Fund.
    • Season ticket holders who are paid in full will be guaranteed a price freeze for their 2021 football season ticket(s). A seat contribution will still be required in 2021, but will also be frozen at the 2020 contribution levels.
    • Additional benefits to choosing this option include:
      • In the event the Governor’s orders regarding large group gatherings changes, you will get priority access to seats based on NLC Priority Points.
      • 50 NLC Priority Points (equivalent to a $2,500 donation).
      • Extended payment plan for 2021 football season tickets.
      • Exclusive Enter to Win opportunities throughout the year.
  3. Request a Full Refund
    • Season ticket holders can opt to request a full refund of their 2020 football season ticket (ticket price only) and parking payment.
    • The 2020 football seat contributions will be converted to a tax-deductible donation to the Nittany Lion Club’s Levi Lamb Fund.
    • Season ticket holders who request a refund will retain their season ticket holder status in the renewal process for 2021, but will not be guaranteed their 2020 seat locations and parking for the 2021 football season.

Charitable donations and non-charitable seat contributions are annually used to provide our student-athletes with scholarship opportunities and cannot be refunded per University policy as those scholarship allocations have been distributed for the upcoming year. We appreciate your understanding that as a Nittany Lion Club member, your annual support for our scholarships for student-athletes is the bedrock of our commitment to them.

As Nittany Lions, we are a gritty, resilient, passionate family who has been through much together. We have always stuck together and persevered through whatever the challenge. I know first-hand this crisis has impacted each of you in a variety of ways and I pray that you and your families are healthy and safe. Thank you for whatever support you are able to provide for Penn State Athletics at this time. For now, it is from afar, but we look forward to a time when we can bring our Penn State family back together again.

We Are!

Sandy Barbour
Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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