Baylor Football

Baylor focused on plan for 50% capacity at McLane Stadium for now

June 25, 2020

As COVID-19 cases have surged to record highs in Texas over the last handful of days while the state’s leaders attempt to reopen the economy, the outlook on what fan attendance will look like at college football stadiums in the state is foggy at best. 

Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced earlier this month that outdoor stadiums would be allowed to operate at 50% capacity for sports in the state, up from the original 25% that was set at the end of May. 

As for Baylor, Vice President and Director of Athletics Mack Rhoades told SicEm365 Radio his team is working on plans for multiple different scenarios.

“I think you have to prepare for different scenarios,” Rhoades said. “So think you have to prepare for 75% capacity, 50% capacity, 25% capacity so that you have all three plans ready to go and there’s certainly overlap amongst all three. Then when’s the trigger point of now we have to go with this plan.”

Related: Mack Rhoades gives gut feeling on 2020 season

With 73 days until Baylor’s football season begins, the majority of focus is on the plan that would allow 50% capacity at McLane Stadium. The number falls in line with Abbott’s current policy but could change in time.

Jim Black

“We’re probably most focused on a 50% plan because of what Governor Abbott has talked about, but we’ve got to be ready with all three and be able to pull the trigger,” Rhoades said. “And again, you’ve got to have a really well thought out plan, great plan, but then you’ve got to be able to execute it and execute it at a high level.”

As for the “trigger point” mentioned by Rhoades, or the point when his team would like to move forward with the capacity plan for the season, that day is at least another couple of weeks away and possibly even a month while more data is being collected.

“I think as we get to mid July and certainly the end of July, I think we’ll have a better sense of where we are, the reality of 12 games, the reality of starting on time,” Rhoades said.

That includes the how the virus passes between players on the team as the summer progresses. Baylor student athletes began returning to campus in waves last Monday. 

While voluntary football workouts are still active after eight recent positive tests among student athletes, they are operating at at 20-25% capacity in weight room settings while the number of players training together are limited. The procedures in place allow for appropriate social distancing amongst players.

When mandatory workouts begin next month, however, is when the answers on player safety that are needed to make the correct decision will emerge.

“I think where it’s going to be telling is when we start the required football activity and contact,” Rhoades said. 

“Then what happens in terms of the disease and the spread and now also thinking beyond your student athletes, but also your staff. I think there are some key check points for us and I would say those are probably every week beginning July 14th and every week for the next 3-4 weeks I think it will start to give us a picture of what the fall season will look like.”

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