Big Ten opens spring events, including football, to percentages of fans

The Big Ten announced on Wednesday that percentages of fans will be permitted to attend remaining 2020-21 games and other events, including those related to springtime football activities. 

“The decision to follow local health guidelines and restrictions was made jointly by the Big Ten Conference Directors of Athletics and the Council of Presidents and Chancellors in consultation with university medical experts and the conference office,” the league explained. 

Limited numbers of fans were permitted to attend the conference’s men’s and women’s basketball championship tournaments earlier this month. 

“The goal is to transition from a conference-wide approach to local decision-making in consultation with public health departments and university medical experts,” the Big Ten added. 

COVID-19 cases are rising in pockets of the country due to spreading variants as coronavirus vaccine rollouts continue, so plans for fall football seasons are tentative at best. In early March, the Alabama Crimson Tide announced they intend to fill Bryant-Denny Stadium to capacity for their home opener against the Mercer Bears on Sept. 11. Handfuls of NFL teams have made similar proclamations in emails sent to season-ticket holders. 

On Tuesday, the Miami Heat became the first NBA franchise to confirm they will soon open seating sections only for fans fully vaccinated against COVID-19. It’s expected other NBA teams will embrace similar protocols before the conclusion of the season. 

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