Penn State fall sports — including football — to be conducted without fans, for now

Centre Daily Times (TNS)
Penn State Athletic Director Sandy Barbour, right.

Penn State football will play without fans in the stands — for now. Penn State Athletic Director Sandy Barbour revealed the information to season ticket holders in an email Thursday morning that was also posted on the athletic department’s website.

“As of today, the current large gatherings guidance from the Governor’s Office limits capacity to 250 people for outside events and 25 people for inside events,” the letter reads. “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.”

The size of outside gatherings is limited in effort to mitigate the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The department is prepared to alter its plans if the capacity for outside events changes and has been in contact with Gov. Tom Wolf’s office about the potential for a change to the guidance.

“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,” Barbour’s letter reads. “These plans will have the safety and well-being 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.”

While fans won’t be allowed into games as things stand, that doesn’t mean season ticket-holders will be able to get their money back without some level of repercussion.

If a season ticket-holder requests a refund, they will retain their season ticket-holder status in the renewal process for 2021, but will not be guaranteed their 2020 seat locations or parking.

Fans who make that request won’t be getting a full refund, either. Their Nittany Lion Club donation — which is required to purchase seats and can cost more than ticket fees — will not be refunded in accordance with the university policy outlined on the Nittany Lion Club website.

“Nittany Lion Club charitable donations and non-charitable seat contributions are non-refundable,” the policy states. “These commitments provide our student-athletes with scholarship opportunities on an annual basis and cannot be refunded per university policy. Benefits for these contributions are not guaranteed and are subject to change.”

The other two options for those who have already purchased and paid for their season tickets are to roll that payment over to the 2021 season, or to convert their payment to a tax-deductible donation to the Nittany Lion Club.

Those who convert their payment to a donation will also get priority access to seats based on Nittany Lion Club Priority Points if the governor’s office changes its guidance on large outdoor gatherings.

The Nittany Lions are set to open their season at Beaver Stadium against Northwestern on Sept. 5.