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Mark Stoops understands playing college games with no fans will send mixed message

Mark Stoops (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

As speculation continues about whether there will or will not be a college football season or when it will start if there is one, I remembered something Kentucky coach Mark Stoops talked about on his recent Zoom conference with media members.

Stoops acknowledged there were “different challenges”for college football teams playing versus NFL teams and he knew there would be a “lot of critics” if college games are played with no fans present.

“The optics of it, to say you’re going to have college kids allowed to play, line up six inches apart from each other, breathe on each other, sweat on each other, get in big piles and do all that but you’re not allowed to have fans in the stadium? That’s going to be the first thing you hear, right? The optics of it,” Stoops said.

And he is absolutely right. He knows that decision is not going to be easy for college officials to make.

“I’m not sure that’s a viable option,” he said.

Then there is money.

“I think It’s very important to have people in the stands, universities are counting on that. We need people in the stands. Before this whole situation happened, you heard me talking about it, encouraging our fan base to pick it up and pick up season tickets and get in there because we need them,” Stoops said. “It makes a difference to us having them in there both financially and for their support.”

Stoops  understands the thirst many have for live sports again. He wants that to but only if it is safe for all.

“We want to provide that, we want to be out there and provide an outlet for people, a way to escape some of this. Obviously we have to do it in a safe manner,” Stoops said. “It’s not my decision, that’s for people a lot smarter than me.

“When they tell us it’s safe to come, then we want to be out there. I want to be out there with fans in attendance.  I believe they make a difference. We feel that energy, it’s a part of our sport, and that’s the way I want to see it.”

1 comment

  1. Here is my two cents worth. Take precautions at the stadiums, like requiring masks, etc. and people should just use common sense. Stay home if you are sickly, old, or have health issues. For the rest who want to take the risk, game on, but those in charge at our universities must exercise stricter measures for stadium entrance. No tailgating for all of 2020 is probably a must. All these experts surely can put together a plan. I doubt these young men want to knock heads with no fans in the stands. This is America, people have freedoms. Hoping hotter weather will kill this plague too, and if that happens in June, July, etc. open the season up.

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