LINCOLN — As the Nebraska football program continues its preparation for the 2020 season, Gov. Pete Ricketts further opened the door for fans to attend games at Memorial Stadium this fall.
At a press conference on Monday, he said Nebraska has been successful in slowing the spread of coronavirus.
In announcing a further easing of coronavirus restrictions beginning June 22, he said he’s looking ahead to the next, fourth phase of the state’s reopening, which would include allowing 100% occupancy at stadiums and other outdoor venues and 75% occupancy at indoor events.
Just when he might make that announcement has not been determined, and it will be dependent on hospitals maintaining enough capacity to handle coronavirus patients. He indicated that a further easing of restrictions could come in July.
Ricketts said the changes coming Monday don’t “greenlight” a full Memorial Stadium for Nebraska football this fall, “but we’re all hoping to get there.”
Most NU football players have returned to Lincoln and are taking part in optional workouts. On Wednesday, the NCAA is set to approve a calendar that eases football programs into mandatory workouts and, eventually, the beginning of training camp on Aug. 7. Every indicator, for now, points to football being played at some point this fall.
What’s unclear is how the university might handle the recommendation that groups maintain a 6-foot distance from one another. The Huskers typically sell 90,000 tickets per home game — season ticket renewal was high despite the pandemic — with fans often having a few inches of space between them.
NU Athletic Director Bill Moos said in late May that he would be in favor of any Husker fan being able to attend home games in the fall, if that is allowed. Moos and his staff have multiple contingency plans for reduced attendance. Any reduction would come with a significant financial hit.