Longhorns to play football season at 50% stadium capacity, UT athletic director says

College Sports

AUSTIN, TX – SEPTEMBER 07: Texas Longhorns mascot Bevo XV participates in a stadium entry walk through before the game against the LSU Tigers at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium on September 7, 2019 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Texas Longhorns Athletic Director Chris Del Conte anticipates Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium will be filled at 50% capacity for UT football home games in 2020 — as of Monday, July 20.

In a letter to Longhorns football season ticket holders on Monday, Del Conte offered more clarification on the program’s attempt to navigate a football season during a pandemic. Throughout the spring and summer, Del Conte has maintained the athletic department is implementing plans and procedures in order to play a season with fans in the stadium.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order currently allows for 50% capacity at professional and collegiate outdoor stadiums throughout the state. In June, Abbott said he’s been in conversation with college athletic directors from across Texas to discuss reopening protocols and safe strategies for play.

Since June 20, Texas has reported over 200,000 additional, new cases of COVID-19 in the state, according to KXAN’s numbers.

In Monday’s letter, Del Conte says he expects all season ticket holders to have a seat for each game during the 2020 season — if UT is allowed to fill the stadium to 50%. Additionally, Del Conte says any season ticket holder can opt out of tickets for the 2020 season and they will not lose their seating location or loyalty points for the 2021 season.

To adhere to social distancing and state health guidelines, UT will likely have to move season ticket holders to different spots throughout the stadium, but Del Conte says they are trying to keep all fans as close as possible to their usual seats.

The Big Ten and Pac 12 jumped first to alter their 2020 schedule during COVID-19, announcing in early July that they will only play conference games during the upcoming season for all fall sports. The remaining “Power 5” conferences, the Big 12, SEC and ACC, haven’t made a public announcement toward an adjusted schedule.

On July 7, the State Fair of Texas canceled the 2020 fair due to safety concerns during the coronavirus pandemic. Del Conte responded the same day, reiterating that they intend to play the annual Red River Showdown between Texas and Oklahoma at the Cotton Bowl — which is located on the state fair grounds.

The Longhorns are scheduled to start the season against South Florida on Sept. 5 in Austin.

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