MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – On Saturday, while the Kansas Jayhawks are searching for their first win of the season, a limited number of Mountaineer fans will be watching their team, in-person for the first time since the Oklahoma State game in November of 2019. This time, the 60,000 seat Milan Puskar Stadium will be reduced to 25 percent capacity or about 15,000 fans.
According to WVU associate athletics director for facilities and operations, April Messerly other COVID-19 protocols will include mandatory face coverings, social distancing and other changes to the fan experience.
“A face covering is required over your mouth and nose before you’re even allowed to come into the stadium,” Messerly said,”Once you get in, if there are any kind of lines we are really trying to promote and expect good physical and social distancing as well.”
Fans will also be expected to remain socially distant when they arrive in the seating area. Staff in the stadium will monitor complaince and make suggestions or corrections when needed.
“We hope that our fanbase is in alignment with us and knowing we need to work just as hard as our team and our coaches to keep this thing going,” Messerly said,”If that means we need to wear a mask and sit where we’re supposed, quite honestly we hope people are able to do that.”
Outside the stadium tailgating will not be permitted, but fans will be allowed into the stadium earlier than in the past.
“Normally we open our gates an hour-and-a-half before kick off, because of no tailgating we’re going to let people come on in,” Messerly said,” So, we’re going to open our parking lots two hours prior kick off and we’re going to open out gates two hours prior kick off.”
No tailgating, face coverings and social distancing are requirements that will be enforced, according to Messerly.
“We hope that our fans are in agreement with us on that as well and hopefull they’ll be good stewards of what we’re all trying to do here so we can keep it going,” Messerly said,”We will be enforcing the no tailgating.”
This year will be the debut of the new sate-of-the-art sound system and video board at the south end of the stadium. However, due to a less than capacity crowd the sound system may not perform at an optimum level.
Big 12 officials have barred bands from being on the field to limit numbers and potential spread of the virus. A reduced sized band will perform from Section121 on the west side of the venue.
While inside the stadium there will be concessions available on a somewhat limited basis.
“They’ll offer a more limited menu, not as many points of sale to reduce touch points and also because we don’t have as many fans there,” Messerly said,”So, you won’t see the portable stands along the concourses, but all of the permanent stands will be open.”
Nine hours of pregame coverage begins at 9 a.m. on MetroNews and the game kick off is scheduled for noon.