Iowa State to Allow 25,000 Fans to Attend Football Opener in COVID-19 Hotbed

The White House just warned Iowa leaders the state had the country's steepest coronavirus outbreak

Iowa State to Allow 25,000 Fans to Attend Football Opener in COVID-19 Hotbed
A host of Iowa State fans chant during a 2018 Big 12 matchup between the Cyclones and the Kansas Jayhawks.
Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

On Sunday, the White House warned Iowa leaders that the state had the country’s steepest coronavirus outbreak and advised that bars in 61 counties should be closed.

In the wake of that warning, which also included the suggestion that the state test all returning college students for the virus, Iowa State said it would be allowing approximately 25,000 football fans into Jack Trice Stadium for the Cyclones’ season opener against Louisiana Lafayette on September 12.

In Story County, where Iowa State’s campus is located, the seven-day average of new cases per 100,000 residents is 777, nearly a fourfold increase from a week ago and one of the highest rates for a county in America, according to The Washington Post.

On a micro level it is even worse as the central-Iowa college town of Ames, home to the school’s campus, was labeled as the worst city in the country on Monday with 8.2 new cases per 1,000 residents by The New York Times.

“Iowa is in the red zone for cases, indicating more than 100 new cases per 100,000 population last week, with the highest rate in the country. Iowa is in the red zone for test positivity, indicating a rate above 10%, with the 5th highest rate in the country,” according to the White House report from Sunday.

As part of the reveal about fans being allowed, Iowa State athletic director Jamie Pollard announced face coverings will be required at all times, tailgating lots will be closed and fans will have to stay in their seats while maintaining social distancing. 

“If our mitigation actions are successful, we will allow all season ticket purchasers to attend the Oklahoma game Oct. 3,” Pollard said in a letter to fans, via The Des Moines Register. “However, if we determine that mitigation measures were not followed adequately at the first game, we will have no fans at future games [beginning with Oklahoma].”

Good luck.

“President Wintersteen shared with me on Tuesday evening that, after weighing feedback she has received from the community, she has decided to reverse the decision,” Iowa State athletic director Jamie Pollard said in a statement released by the school. As a result, we will play the season opener without fans.”

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