Arkansas Razorback Athletics officials released plans for fall 2020 game day procedures Sunday night in advance of Razorback Football’s abridged, conference-only fall season. Changes include reduced seating capacity, mandatory face coverings and no tailgating.
Razorback Football officials consulted the Arkansas Department of Health to develop and implement regulations to make the game day experience “as healthy and safe as possible,” according to the team website.
Nearly every aspect of Razorback football game days will be altered in an attempt to prevent the spread of COVID-19, as the schools of the Southeastern Conference attempt to play a season during the ongoing pandemic.
Spectators will be capped at 17,000, or 23% of Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium’s full capacity. Season ticket holders will have seating priority.
All guests and staff are required to wear face coverings from the time they enter the stadium lines to the time they leave.
To promote social distancing, lines will feature standing spaces marked six feet apart from one another for entry into the stadium, concession stands, restrooms and team stores.
Hand sanitizing stations will be placed throughout the stadium to avoid overcrowded restrooms, and staff will disinfect high-touch surfaces during games. All transactions in the stadium will be contactless, including concessions, merchandise and ticketing.
Along with the in-game experience, pregame activities will also be restricted to prevent large crowds from gathering. Tailgating will not be permitted, and parking lots will open three hours prior to kickoff. Shuttle service to and from the stadium will be limited, and passengers are required to wear face coverings.
The pre-game HogTown festival on Maple Street, introduced last season, will not occur before games in 2020. Buses will drive the football team straight to its entrance, eliminating the Hog Walk tradition and gates are set to open half an hour later than normal.
The football field itself must be cleared prior to the team’s entry, eliminating the marching band’s “Big A” formation and the band will only feature half of its members at each game. Other performers, such as mascots and cheerleaders, will not have any direct interaction with spectators.
Even amid a pandemic that has infected more than 5,000,000 Americans, including over 50,000 Arkansans, Arkansas athletic director Hunter Yurachek is confident that a college football season can be played to completion.
“College football has survived a number of things during the past 150 years, and I truly believe that college football in some way shape or form can also survive what we’re going through right now,” Yurachek said on The Paul Finebaum Show last week. “It may survive without all the teams in the Power Five or FBS participating this year, but college football will survive.”
The 2020 season is scheduled to begin Sept. 26. The SEC is one of only three Power Five conferences still planning on playing a season during the coronavirus pandemic, after the Big Ten and Pac-12 elected to postpone their seasons to next spring last week.