Fan opinion split on return of BYU Football this fall amid pandemic

By Caleb Turner

BYU Football is set to begin preparations for the 2020 season in less than a month, but fans are still unsure about what home games will look like at Lavell Edwards Stadium this fall or if football will even be played at all.

A poll was conducted on June 21 on Cougarboard, a popular BYU sports message board, asking whether or not fans believed football would be happening this fall. Over 400 people responded, but the results were split, with 51.1% saying yes and 48.9% saying no.

Several people replied to the original post, with comments ranging from optimism about football returning with fans to uncertainty about college football being played even in 2021. Some hypothesized that fans might not be allowed at sporting events until a vaccine is available, which could arrive as soon as later this year or not until 2021.

As previously reported by the Universe, BYU Tickets sent out a survey to football season-ticket holders about options for attending home games this fall. While the Universe does not have access to the official results from the survey, several people sounded off on Twitter with their thoughts on how BYU should handle fans attending home games.

Fans were once again split in their responses to the questions posed by the survey, with many calling for BYU to allow each person to decide for themselves whether they will attend and risk getting sick.

“Please allow us to use our God-given agency and choose if we want to come or not,” @Grizzfather said on Twitter. “Those who want to come should be able to. Those who don’t can stay home.”

Others said BYU should follow experts and data that warn about the dangers of asymptomatic carriers of the virus spreading beyond the football stadium.

“It should be understood by now that whether those who attend get sick isn’t the only issue, but whom they might pass the virus on to,” @Kent_in_Utah said in a Twitter response. “This isn’t just a matter of one’s own agency.”

BYU football fans cheer on the Cougars at LaVell Edwards Stadium in 2019. The number of fans allowed in the stadium may be limited in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Preston Crawley)

The Universe reached out to BYU Athletics on whether athletes are being tested for COVID-19 and if these results will be released.

“All volunteer athletic workouts on campus require a screening process for each individual who enters our facilities,” BYU athletics said in their response. “The results of those screenings are not publicly announced. We continue to work with university leaders and government officials to monitor the COVID-19 situation closely and provide all possible safeguards for our student-athletes and athletics personnel.”

BYU announced on June 24 that the university is making plans for an in-person semester this fall, with several precautions, including a requirement to wear face coverings on campus and a “phased approach for reintroducing activities and events.”

With these kinds of screenings and precautions for BYU athletes and students, similar measures may be expected for fans wishing to attend football games. The “phased approach” mentioned by BYU could apply to sporting events as well by adjusting the number of fans allowed in the venue based on local trends in the pandemic and state and university guidelines.

In a poll conducted by KSL Sports, 76.7% of 729 fans who responded said they would attend football games in the stadium this fall if there were safety precautions in place.

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