What Iowa's Gameday Experience Could Be Like
The scenarios for planning for a college football season at Iowa during the COVID-19 pandemic don't just include Kinnick Stadium.
It also includes the tailgating experience in the university-controlled lots that surround the stadium, and also how some fans get there.
Iowa athletics director Gary Barta talked on Thursday about how he wants as many fans as possible to come to the seven home games this season, but that the athletics department is also planning for scenarios that could include reduced attendance.
But it also might mean limiting the number of fans who can tailgate.
Of course, like everything else in a time of uncertainty, there is no set scenario.
"The best answer is, I don’t know yet," Barta said during his video conference with the media. "I expect there will be some modifications."
Iowa's first two home games are against in-state teams Northern Iowa on Sept. 5 and Iowa State on Sept. 12. Both games, especially the one against Iowa State, figure to bring in people who are there just for the tailgate parties.
Barta said along with the discussion of the possibilities of reducing the number of fans allowed in the stadium, there has been a discussion of limiting the size of tailgate parties.
"We have talked about it," Barta said. "We have begun to identify parking lots. If it's a hundred percent versus 75 percent versus 50 percent, whatever the percentage is, we do expect not everyone will come to the game."
There also could be limitations on the number of fans that will ride on the Hawkeye Express, the train that runs from Coralville to Kinnick Stadium on game days.
"Transportation is a broader topic," Barta said. "We also have to talk about the train, and whether or not we'll be able to put the Hawkeye Express back into production. If we do, we may have to limit the number of people that we put on the train. We know that's a question that will be addressed."
Barta said there have already been meetings to discuss what to do on game days.
"Like the other categories, we're preparing for different scenarios," Barta said. "We have not yet put a final touch on how tailgating will be.
"I know how important tailgating is. I know how important it is to our experience. I can comfortably say there will be tailgating. I'm not ready to say how that's going to work."