Indiana, student section

Kirsten McCarty (senior-mechanical engineering) and Ian McCutcheon (senior-marketing) yell after Penn State gets a stop on third down during the football game against Indiana at Beaver Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019. 

As Penn State’s campus is opening back up in the fall, excitement levels are high for students all across the country.

But with the coronavirus pandemic still in full swing, the question of whether or not college athletics will be back to somewhat normal, or even be back at all, has been prominent in students' minds.

Penn State Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Sandy Barbour held a press conference over Zoom Wednesday that addressed many of these questions that have been lingering, such as fan attendance, scheduling and virus protocols.

Barbour said if any fans were to attend the football games in Beaver Stadium this season, it’s likely that it would only be season ticket holders.

While the status of student football tickets is still up in the air, Bryce Eberly believes Penn State should do everything in its power to make sports happen this upcoming semester.

“I definitely would love to be able to go to games this fall,” Eberly (sophomore-theatre and advertising) said. “But regarding the circumstances I totally understand if that were impossible.”

Eberly added he thinks it would be “more safe” if fans attending games wear masks and practice social distancing “to an extent” in the stadium.

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“The Penn State atmosphere simply wouldn’t be the same without the games,” Eberly said.

Incoming freshman Ashton Gunter also believes Penn State can have sporting events this year if all students wear masks correctly and are cooperating by doing their part to keep everyone on campus safe.

“I personally would feel safe going to sporting events during the fall,” Gunter (freshman-journalism) said. “But I do think they are a far fetch.

“Although I believe Penn State is taking the right precautionary steps, places like Beaver Stadium or the [Bryce Jordan Center] are next to impossible to social distance,” Gunter continued. “So either you only have some fans which is not fair to all Penn State students or you have no fans which is no fun for any of us.”

Like Eberly, Maura Bier believes sports are a key factor for the university.

“I understand the imposing threats, and there are ways to limit them without stripping sporting events completely from Penn State culture,” Bier (sophomore-division of undergraduate studies) said. “A main reason students choose PSU is for their sporting events.”

Bier said when people think of Penn State, they don’t think about classes in the forum.

“They think about a crowd of students singing Sweet Caroline in Beaver Stadium,” Bier said. “That’s Penn State pride.”

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