Penn State will not allow fans inside Beaver Stadium or outside it when the football season resumes in October.
The university said in a statement that it "will absolutely not" permit tailgating on campus or outside Beaver Stadium this season. As part of their plan to restart the football season Oct. 23-24, Big Ten presidents agreed to have no public ticket sales for games.
Penn State Athletic Director Sandy Barbour said the program is seeking ways to allow the families of players and coaches to attend games.
"We're returning to an ability to play because we've determined that the the play can be done safely," Barbour said during a media Zoom call Thursday. "We've made a decision as a conference not to have fans out of an abundance of caution. And we're asking Penn State nation to cheer us on, have small, home, personal-pod parties, but do it safely."
Penn State said it will work with local law enforcement to enforce the no-tailgating mandate, which is consistent with area municipal ordinances. In its latest COVID-19 report, Penn State reported a total of 1,145 positive cases of COVID-19 among students since it began testing in August.
Penn State President Eric Barron said this week that 477 students who tested positive for COVID-19 have recovered.
"While we can appreciate the wish to restart social activities along with the on-field activities, we must recognize now is not the time," Penn State said in a statement. "We cannot take steps backward in our efforts to contain the pandemic and to keep our campuses open for in-person teaching, learning and research."
The university said it could organize student events around football that follow requirements for distancing and mask-wearing. Penn State added that it will continue to work with the borough of State College to help maintain occupancy limits at bars and restaurants.
"You’re not going to be able to do tailgating on the campus, as much as we would love you to be have you do this," Barbour said. "This has always been about getting back to some normal activities but while doing it safely. ... Obviously we want you to back the guys, but do it in a safe and responsible manner, and we’ll all be back together as soon as we possibly can."
Get the latest Penn State news by joining the community. Click "Follow" at the top right of our AllPennState page. Mobile users click the notification bell. And please follow AllPennState on Twitter @MarkWogenrich.