The good news is that the University of Arkansas does have a plan for football this season.
However, things will look very different this year.
According to Arkansas Athletics Director, Hunter Yurachek, they will allow fans at games in 2020. But Razorback Stadium will likely be limited to just 25% capacity.
“We have had continuing conversations with the Arkansas Department of Health and staff there as we put together them an operation’s plan,” says Yurachek. “As you look at their current phase two parameters it says 66-percent capacity. So with social distancing if you follow all those guidelines we’ll never get to 66-percent capacity. We will probably get closer to 25-percent capacity with social distancing guidelines. That plan is continuing to be put together and we’re in communications with the staff at the Arkansas Department of Health and staff. Our plan is to have fans in the stands. It won’t look like it has in the past, but if we had to play a game this Saturday it would be roughly 25-percent capacity.”
Those fans that are allowed at the game will be getting an entirely different type of experience than usual.
“Attending games this fall is gonna involve several changes,” says Yurachek. “First being mobile ticketing. There most likely will be some staggered entry times for fans assigned entry gates. I think you will see defined directional movement of patrons on concourses and aisles. Meaning when you go down the concourse you go down one way and come back the other. There will be very little overlapping of traffic. We’ll be working with Levy our concession partner to develop prepackaged concession items as well as potentially preordered and prepaid concession items. The field is gonna look different. The team box is now gonna go from the 15-yard line to the 15-yard line. There will be limited non-essential personnel on the sidelines. Limited members of the media on the sidelines. There will be no on-field presentations or recognition. Still yet to be determined if we’ll have any performances by band or cheerleaders on the field. Some of the things that really make SEC Football games and college football special, the pageantry we’re all used to is probably not gonna exist in a college football venue this year.”
As for across the SEC, Yurachek believes stadium capacity will vary across the conference due to state regulations.
“I think you’ll see a hybrid where we work together as a southeastern conference institution to have some commonalities around our event operations in those plans. Of course we all reside in different states and so we all have to follow those guidelines that are established individually by each states health department. So I think you’ll see a hybrid where there are some perimeters put in place that we all collectively buy into as the SEC member and then their will be some that very from state to state.”