LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The University of Louisville Cardinals have just 72 hours until the start of their college football season. When the Cards take the field Saturday night against Western Kentucky University, they will be playing in front of a crowd way smaller than what they’re used to.
In August, the university announced they will keep the crowd to 20% capacity in the bowl and suites, with about 12,000 fans expected at Cardinal Stadium.
“There will be less people down there," Athletic Director Vince Tyra said. "Very noticeable that there’ll be less people.”
On Wednesday, Tyra toured reporters around the stadium, showing them the new guidelines and protocols that have been put in place.
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Tyra said parking lots will be open three hours before kickoff on Saturday to guests with reserved passes, instead of five. He also said fans will not be allowed to tailgate.
Stadium gates will open 90 minutes before the game.
When fans do arrive at the gate, they will be forced to practice social distancing and will have to have their temperatures taken prior to entry. If a person’s temperature is above 100.4, they will be asked to stand in a designated cool-down area for 10 minutes, before having their temperature re-taken. After that, fans will have to show their mobile tickets to gain entry.
On the concourse level, concessions stands will be card only. Several hand sanitizer stations have been put in place and restrooms have been transitioned into one entrance and one exit. Tyra said staff will be walking around the concourse to ensure compliance with the guidelines.
“So no matter where they’re going in the stadium, we’ll be monitoring that," Tyra said.
When fans enter the bowl, they will be spread out around the field. There will be several seats between families, and people will still have to wear their masks in their seats unless they are eating or drinking.
Tyra said the policies were created by an Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) medical board to ensure safety and prevent the spread of COVID-19. He also said UofL leaders had their eyes on what Lynn Family Stadium and Churchill Downs have done.
“We certainly took into account locally what was happening at Louisville City and what Churchill Downs had proposed and approved for their plans and try to adopt as much of that as we can," Tyra said. "The league recognized that the state and local guidelines are going to really to shape the final plans. Why some may start with less fans, no fans or more fans was going to be dictated by the region of the country and whether you were in a hot spot.”
Tyra also told WAVE 3 News UofL Health leaders have been instrumental in the process, considering their experience studying the coronavirus.
“Our medical advisory group, which Dr. Kevin Gardner sits on, has been a real voice and leader on the conference medical advisory group. I think having what we have with UofL health has certainly helped because we’ve had a number of people who’ve participated.”
Kickoff for Saturday night is scheduled for 8 p.m.
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