Just two days after announcing a plan to have 25,000 fans in the stands at Jack Trice Stadium, Iowa State has changed course.
According to a university release Wednesday afternoon, there will be no fans in attendance for the football program’s season opener on Sept. 12 against the University of Louisiana. The game, scheduled to kick off at 11 a.m., will be televised nationally on ESPN.
“Our department staff and I have worked very closely with Dr. (Wendy) Wintersteen and her leadership team throughout the summer as we jointly developed plans for this fall’s football season,” Iowa State athletics director Jamie Pollard said in the release. “Over the weekend, Dr. Wintersteen gave our working group the approval to move forward with the plans that were jointly development. Our department announced those plans on Monday, which included fans, who purchased season tickets, to attend the first game.
“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. As a result, we will play the season opener without fans.”
The reversal comes after nearly 48 hours of public backlash in the media, on social media and from public officials in Ames, including the Story County Board of Health.
Prior to announcing the plan to put 25,000 people in the stands on Monday, Ames was pegged as the world’s worst hotspot for positive COVID-19 tests per capita, followed by Iowa City, the home of the University of Iowa.
“Although it is disappointing there won’t be fans at the opener, our institution’s leadership team is still committed to having spectators at future games if it can be done safely,” Pollard said. “Weighing how our campus community responds to the recent surge in positive COVID cases will be a significant factor as to whether we can have fans at future games.
“We will continue to monitor the situation closely and make a decision regarding fans for the Oklahoma game (Oct. 3) at a later date.”