Notre Dame releases plan for football season, stadium limited to 20% capacity

Notre Dame Stadium will look a little different at this year's football games. The university just announced it is limiting seating to just 20% of the stadium's capacity and season ticket holders won't be able to attend.

On a typical game day, more than 77,000 fans pack into Notre Dame Stadium. At 20% capacity, that means just 15,000 spectators will be in the stands.

Students will get first dibs on tickets, then faculty and staff will be able to buy tickets.

The university will also make a limited number of tickets to family members of players of both teams each game.

Those who attend the games will be required to wear face coverings.

Tailgating will not be allowed.

Dr. Mark Fox from the St Joseph County Health Department was instrumental in Notre Dame's decision on stadium capacity.

Dr. Fox says those who attend the games will likely be seated in groupings of two or four people, like roommates or family members. There will be a distance of six feet between groupings.

"If somebody takes a mask off, the intent is that the ushers will escort them from the game under those circumstances. So, the intent is to take the mitigation strategies very seriously and because it will be largely confined to a population that's already interacting within the campus community that it won't create undo risk. Certainly, it's a large crowd gathered in the stadium, but with attention to physical distancing, both on stadium entry and concessions and restrooms and so on, throughout the game. So I think it's a reasonable approach to try and keep the university community and the spectators safe," Dr. Fox said.

What about people who are having tailgating parties at their homes? Right now Indiana allows gatherings of up to 250 people.

"Yeah, we haven't discussed that explicitly. You're right. Crowds over 250, you need approval of the local health department. I'm not naive. I'm sure there will be off-campus tailgating. But one of things we've discussed with the university is the need to remove anyone who's intoxicated because intoxicated fans tend to not follow public health guidance on mitigation strategies. Now, I think there will be an even quicker trigger finger to remove fans that are inebriated and not compliant. I think that will be a challenge to navigate this fall," Dr. Fox said.

Season ticket holders were informed of the university's decision via email. The will have the option of rolling over the amount already paid towards next season's games, they can request a refund, or the money can be donated to the student emergency relief fund.

Regardless of what option the ticket holder chooses, they will still be eligible for the same seats next season.

Notre Dame kicks off its season against Duke on September 12.

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