Penn State President Eric Barron Comments on 2020 Football Season

By Dan Vecellio on June 22, 2020 at 6:35 pm
Nov 16, 2019; University Park, PA, USA; A general view of Beaver Stadium prior to a game between the Indiana Hoosiers and the Penn State Nittany Lions. Mandatory Credit: Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports
Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports
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In a Monday town hall with Penn State students, university president Eric Barron expressed caution surrounding how the 2020 college football season will unfold in Happy Valley. 

Barron did not seem keen on allowing many spectators into Beaver Stadium if games were to be played this fall. The possibility of thousands in attendance yelling could lead to a "super-spreader" type of event, even in an outdoor setting. Many super-spreader events have taken place in locations such as churches where singing and yelling are the norm, leading to an increase in the number of respiratory droplets released into the surrounding air. In Italy, a Champions League soccer match was viewed as a "biological bomb" that led to extreme growth of Covid-19 cases both in Italy, as well as Spain.

According to Barron, his thinking seems to be line with other Big Ten schools, who will also not be allowing full stadiums for games in the fall. 

These comments come on the same day as the University of Iowa announced a freeze on future 2020 season ticket sales. Barron's full comments can be found below. 

Student-athletes have been returning to campus across the country this month as schools had hoped that a university bubble would help to keep all members healthy. Results have been worse than most have hoped. Last week alone, Clemson announced that 23 players had tested positive for COVID-19, Texas had 13 positive cases, and 30 LSU players were in quarantine because of an outbreak linked to the town's bar district. Both Kansas State and Houston have suspended workouts due to outbreaks amongst their teams. All of this, of course, comes before thousands of students begin to make their way back to campus in August across the nation. 

Reading between the lines of Barron's comments, it seems far-fetched that the university would feel great about letting anyone who wasn't already on campus into Beaver Stadium in 2020 if the season were to play out for fear of "reset(ing) the COVID clock". There is always the possibility of playing in front of empty stadiums as is happening in soccer stadiums across Europe at the moment, or waiting until the spring to have a shortened college football season. Whatever the case, it's more and more likely that the upcoming season will be anything but normal. 

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