Penn State plans to play football without fans in Beaver Stadium this fall, which will have an "immense" financial impact on the athletic department, according to Vice President of Intercollegiate Athletics Sandy Barbour.
In an email to season-ticket holders Thursday, Barbour said that fall sports will be played without fans in attendance. Barbour cited Pennsylvania's capacity limit on outdoor (250 people) and indoor (25) gatherings as the reason for playing without spectators.
Penn State could welcome back fans in some capacity if the restrictions are loosened, Barbour's letter said.
In addition, Barbour said that Penn State's athletic department faces revenue losses in the "high eight figures, reaching nine figures" if football is not played. In fiscal year 2018-19, Penn State's football team generated $100.5 million of the department's $164 million in operating revenue.
As a result, Penn State is giving season-ticket holders the option of converting their 2020 season tickets into a tax-deductible donation to the athletic department. Fans also will have the option of rolling over their tickets to 2021 or applying for a refund.
Those who apply for the refund will retain their tickets but not be guaranteed their 2020 seat locations.
"Penn State Athletics has always and will always put the health, safety and education of our students as our top priority," Barbour said in the letter. "The current COVID-19 environment is no exception. Your support and generosity have always been the cornerstone of our ability to provide our coaches, staff and students with the resources necessary to meet our students’ needs in those areas. You have ALWAYS supported our students at the times of the most acute need. This is one of those moments.
"... As Nittany Lions, we are a gritty, resilient, passionate family who has been through much together. We have always stuck together and persevered through whatever the challenge. I know first-hand this crisis has impacted each of you in a variety of ways and I pray that you and your families are healthy and safe. Thank you for whatever support you are able to provide for Penn State Athletics at this time. For now, it is from afar, but we look forward to a time when we can bring our Penn State family back together again."
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