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Football Game Days Take Shape at Alabama, Texas

Paul Steinbach

For months, the question had been whether college football teams would play this fall. Next, it was what will game day look like if they do? Two schools provided a hint this week.

The University of Alabama announced Tuesday that capacity at 101-821-seat Bryant-Denny Stadium would be limited to 20 percent, and all of those in attendance will be required to wear a mask.

As reported by ABC affiliate WBMA in Birmingham, earlier in the day the Southeastern Conference had announced new guidelines for campuses wanting to host fans during the 2020 season. However, the guidelines left it up to individual member schools to determine how many fans would be allowed, as well as tailgating policies. On the latter front, Alabama opted to ban tailgating altogether.

Over in the Big 12, the University of Texas on Sunday trimmed its 2020 football crowd size limit at Darrell K Royal - Texas Memorial Stadium (capacity 100,119) from a desired 50 percent to 25 percent. According to the Austin American-Statesman, Texas Tech has already announced it will use a 25 percent seating model, while Texas A&M is still planning on going with 50 percent capacity.

Obviously, these unprecedented circumstances dictated by the COVID-19 pandemic pose challenges in terms of accommodating longtime season-ticket holders. It's particularly dicey for Texas, which intends to share 12.5 percent of stadium capacity to visiting Oklahoma this year, leaving slightly more than 10,000 tickets for Texas fans.

The SEC, Big 12 and Atlantic Coast Conference are the three Power 5 leagues pressing forward with a fall season after the Big Ten and Pac-12 announced Aug. 11 that they were postponing play until spring semester.

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