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Fans not surprised by decision

An empty Beaver Stadium in seen from the air. The stadium is likely to remain empty to fans even if the fall football season is able to kick off Sept. 5. Courtesy photo

Penn State season ticket holders said they are not surprised by Thursday’s announcement that no fans will be allowed to attend Nittany Lion football games until further notice.

“I am not surprised by this decision, and I agree with it,” said Tim Cooper of Hollidaysburg. “Considering how cases of the virus seem to be increasing, and the state’s current limit on the number of people permitted at outdoor gatherings, I don’t know how they could have done anything else. I am glad they did not base the decision on finances.”

Cooper added if Penn State does eventually have the season, “I hope they are at least able to make allowances for the parents of players to be in attendance, much like the discussion that is going on right now with the PIAA and high school sports. I know how important it is for the parents and athletes to have those that have supported them in attendance. If the games are on TV, I’ll still be watching, and that’s just fine with me.”

Tom Bradley of Altoona said he is not surprised by the decision and thinks chances are slim that any Penn State football games will be played this fall.

“After being diligent about social distancing and the wearing of masks for the past five months, my wife and I had indicated on both surveys sent out by Sandy Barbour that we did not plan to attend any games this season,” he said. “I’m guessing a high percentage of season ticket holders, who don’t have their heads in the sand regarding the dangers involved when large crowds gather, had a similar response.

“Having already paid our season ticket, parking and the Nittany Lion Club fees in January, I wasn’t sure what our refund options were going to be. I am quite pleased with the three choices we’ve been given to consider.”

Penn State is giving season ticket holders three options on how to proceed: convert their 2020 football season ticket purchase into a tax deductible donation, rollover to 2021 football season tickets or request a full refund.

Tom Renehan of State College said he was not surprised by the decision, either.

“I have assumed for some time that college football games with fans in attendance would be a practical impossibility,” he said. “Penn State and the Big Ten are making a good faith effort to deal with very difficult circumstances. My heart and mind tell me to accept this decision and to refrain from unhelpful criticism.”

Tom Smith of Hollidaysburg said he, like most fans, is thoroughly disappointed.

“Penn State football and college football is a time-honored tradition with fans eagerly anticipating the season for months,” he said. “I have to accept the decision and hope for positive modifications as soon as possible. I also believe that they, the governor’s office, the Penn State AD, have erred on the side of caution.

“In my humble opinion, the stadium is cavernous, holding 107,000, so thinking 30-40,000 with distancing, masks, sanitizers, might be workable, but I certainly understand that legal ramifications would be very real. Tailgating would have its own distancing problems where adults may adhere to policy, but having students comply could be a reach. At this juncture, a vaccine, I suppose, is the only answer and could be months away from availability. Hopefully the athletes can stay healthy and play at least some games safely.”

Smith also said maybe an abbreviated spring season is the only option.

“Only time will tell and we must persevere and accept the circumstances,” he said. “Best of luck to those making the tough decisions and especially to the players and coaches who are on the front line.”

Terry Cooper of State College is not happy.

“I don’t like the decision, but I understand it and accept it,” he said. “Anyone in a position of responsibility has faced tough decisions like this. When there are too many unknowns the prudent choice is always on the side of safety. The ‘no-fans’ decision is basically falling in line with the approach of other sports.

“It seems that the COVID-19 data and facts are the subject of wide and often opposing interpretations. I’m not certain who is correct. In times of uncertainty, the safest approach is the only choice. This is going to be a tough pill for the local economy. On the other hand, it will free up a lot of time for us.”

Steve Smith of Phoenix, Ariz., who has a second home in State College, comes back for a few games each year.

“Obviously, I am disappointed and will miss the full days of excitement and joy of live games,” he said. “However, this was not unexpected. I just hope that all the games do occur and that we have a successful season.”

Mirror Staff Writer Walt Frank is at 946-7467.

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