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Penn State Pushing 'Really Hard' to Host a Full Beaver Stadium This Fall

Entertaining full sports venues, including Beaver Stadium, is Penn State's goal for the 2021 fall season, Athletic Director Sandy Barbour said.

Penn State is preparing to host full sports venues, including Beaver Stadium, for the 2021 fall season, Athletic Director Sandy Barbour said Monday. But Barbour offered a more reserved plan for a possible Blue-White game this spring.

Speaking on the Penn State Coaches Show, Barbour said that Penn State is "going to push really hard" to entertain fans for football games at Beaver Stadium and at other sports venues this fall. Those plans will follow all COVID-19 guidelines that remain in place and will depend on the progress of vaccinations, Barbour added.

But the athletic director said she is hopeful that Beaver Stadium and other sports venues will host "as many Penn Staters, as many fans as want to be" there.

“Whether that means that they’re vaccinated or wearing masks, whatever it is," Barbour said. "So all of our efforts, all of our planning, is to be able to have full venues, and we're just going to have to monitor the COVID situation and the advice. But we’re going to push really hard, we're going to prepare for venues where every Penn Stater who wants to come, and who has a ticket, has the opportunity to do that."

Barbour was more guarded about conducting, or allowing fans to attend, a Blue-White Game in April to cap spring football practice. Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf recently announced that outdoor events could be held at 20 percent of venue capacity. Technically, that would allow Penn State to hold a Blue-White Game with about 21,000 fans at Beaver Stadium.

Penn State begins spring football practice March 15 but has not announced plans to conduct a Blue-White Game. Barbour did not specifically address the popular public scrimmage, either.

She did, however, mention that Penn State views the process of bringing back fans to events from near-term and long-term perspectives.

"As much as we would love to have community members, our fans from all over the state and all over the region, back in State College, I do think we have to take a little bit of the long view in terms of really making sure that we do everything we can to protect our community, to protect our students, our staff, our coaches," she said. "And to make sure that the trajectory of where this virus is going, that we keep it going in the right direction. So we continue to monitor that as it relates to the spring."

Barbour referenced Penn State's plans for holding some form of an in-person graduation ceremony for the Class of 2021 and for returning to full in-person classes this fall as positive signs for the athletics department.

"We want to make sure, from an athletics perspective, that we do everything we can to help protect those opportunities and help ensure that those will be available to our greater community," Barbour said.

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