FAYETTEVILLE — Rumor had it the NCAA would limit regionals and super regionals to 50-percent capacity this season, but a change of heart has occurred.
As Kendall Rogers tweeted Wednesday morning the NCAA is going to allow full capacity where the state and local ordinances allow it. That will allow both Baum-Walker Stadium and Bogle Park to host a full capacity for games.
That is something that has Arkansas’ Dave Van Horn obviously pleased. Van Horn and the Razorbacks will get to play before a packed house this weekend when Florida comes to town for a Thursday-Saturday series.
“On the fans, we’re really excited,” Van Horn said. “I mean, we told the players when they came out and there’s a lot of new guys in the program, some guys who were here last year that really didn’t get to feel an SEC crowd at home. This’ll be their first time, and only time as far as an SEC crowd. It’s different. We need the fans. We need the fans to be loud and we need the fans to help us. This is when they can do it. Full crowd. Playing a great team like Florida. We need them to be into it, like it’s a super regional. We need that kind of feeling here.”
The Razorbacks still have the Florida series and then the SEC Tournament to play, but given they have been ranked No. 1 most of the season they are a lock to host a regional and possibly be the top seed. Van Horn likes the stadium will be packed in postseason.
“Yeah, I’m pretty sure that happened,” Van Horn said responding to Rogers’ report. “We’re expecting to host a regional here, so we’re really excited. No. 1, we’re excited that more fans get to come to the game. No. 2, we think it’s good for us. To play the schedule we’ve played and what we’ve done, you’d like to have a little bit of a home-field advantage. And it is. You can say it’s not, but it is. We’re excited about it. But we’ve got to get through this weekend and talk about that a little more.”
One thing that will be present among many of the fans are the beer hats worn when the Hogs load the bases. Van Horn gives his full stamp of approval to the hats.
“I don’t know how long they’ve been doing it,” Van Horn said. “Obviously I started noticing it when you’ve got a group of guys down the first base line with these goofy looking hats on. We didn’t know what they were. And then we kind of started realizing, they only put them on when we have the bases loaded.
“Now they’re all over the stadium. I don’t know where they buy them, but they do. It’s been, I don’t know, 7, 8, 9, 10 years it seems like since they started doing it. I may be way off there. Yeah, it’s kind of a cool tradition. I like it, because it means we’ve got the bases loaded.”
Arkansas and Florida will begin the series on Thursday at 6 p.m. and televised on the SEC Network.