Though it was a challenge the University of Colorado expected to handle, a significant hurdle that potentially could have thwarted the Buffaloes’ football opener has been cleared.
On Thursday, CU announced that Boulder County Public Health has approved the university’s game day protocols for COVID-19 mitigation during the Buffs’ opener Nov. 7 against UCLA (5 p.m., ESPN2).
The protocols in place for coach Karl Dorrell’s debut include mandatory face coverings, physical spacing, and a no-tailgating mandate surrounding Folsom Field. Fans will not be allowed at any Pac-12 Conference event until at least Jan. 1, but CU will be allowed to host up to 920 family members of the players and staffs from both teams.
Per NCAA guidelines, the players in uniform on both teams will receive four complimentary tickets. Pac-12 guidelines require at least 400 of the 920 seats be designated for the road team. That means about 43 percent of the crowd, such as it is, will be allotted for the Bruins on Nov. 7.
The ability to host even that many fans for CU’s other two scheduled home games — Nov. 21 against Arizona State and Dec. 11 against Utah — will be determined at a later date. All game day staff will be required to undergo a health screening before entering the stadium. Those 920 fans will be divided into pods of 175 or fewer, with each pod being assigned its own restrooms and concessions.
“We are appreciative of county and state health officials for their diligence in protecting Colorado communities and for the thorough and thoughtful review of our game day plans,” CU athletic director Rick George said in a statement. “The health and safety of our players, coaches, staff and game attendees is our top priority, and we will take a number of precautions in our stadium to help ensure a safe game day experience.”