Up to 15,000 fans will be allowed at next Iowa State football game


Iowa State will allow up to 15,000 fans at the Oct. 3 football game against Oklahoma.

Kylee Haueter

Iowa State’s athletic department announced they will be allowing up to 15,000 fans — less than 25 percent of Jack Trice Stadium’s capacity — at Iowa State’s football game against Oklahoma. 

This announcement comes after the plan to have 25,000 fans at the first football game was scrapped and no fans were allowed to attend. 

In a letter to fans Thursday morning, Iowa State Athletic Director Jamie Pollard cited low positivity rates and a significant drop in testing numbers as a factor in making this decision. Pollard also said the athletic department has been consulting with Dr. Chris Hostler of Infection Control Education for Major Sports (ICS). 

Hostler has been providing health recommendations for the NFL, NFL Players Association and Big 12 Conference. 

According to Dr. John Paschen, chairman of the Story County Board of Health, the board has not yet been asked to help or for advice, but Paschen is hopeful the athletic department will reach out to the board once plans become more finalized.

Paschen also said the amount of fans that show up is not as important as how the fans are handled when it comes to safety precautions. 

“They have to make sure that there’s still good social distancing, I like the things I read this morning about how if you’re not wearing a mask, you’ll be asked to leave. Again, I like the tailgating [ban],” he said.

In addition to social distancing, a mask requirement and the tailgating ban, Pollard said seating will also be assigned to assist in contact tracing if necessary.

“In order to provide sufficient social distancing in the student section, we have decided to limit capacity to 1,000 seats and restrict access to various areas of the student section to further create space between groups of students,” Pollard said in the letter. “This is similar to what other institutions have successfully implemented in their student sections.”

The athletic department also provided a graphic that breaks down mitigation measures they will be taking.  

Concessions will be limited to just water and soda, fans will be allowed to bring food inside of the stadium and fans will only be able to eat and drink while seated.

The letter also stated how student tickets will be handled. 

“We will give full refunds (for the price of the season ticket) to all students who purchased tickets. Athletics will conduct a random drawing, among students who kept their tickets, to determine which students will receive complimentary tickets to the Oklahoma game,” it said.

For the Texas Tech game, the plan for student tickets will depend on how students comply with mitigation rules at the game as well as how they comply with the university’s social gathering rules. 

“If this is done right, I think it can be done,” Paschen said. “I just want to come back to the point that, you know, when they were first talking about a football game, we had a really high positivity rate, but one of the mitigation measures that was used in the community and at ISU was no fans at the football game.”

Paschen said the positivity rate in the community has come down as a result of many different mitigation measures being used together. 

“This is a team effort,” he said. “There’s not one single thing that we do that decreases the rates of COVID-19 in our county, it’s a combination approach. I think that keeping fans out for the first game was one of the things that helps. So let’s see what their final plans are.”

Fans will be removed from the stadium if they do not comply with these mitigation measures and will have their tickets revoked for the remainder of the season.

Pollard said coronavirus numbers will continue to be monitored closely and plans are subject to change if necessary. 

The Cyclones will play Oklahoma on Oct. 3.