GA Gov: "Packed, Sparse or No Crowd" For UGA Opener

May 20, 2020

ATHENS - Georgia governor Brian Kemp is cautious about fans watching UGA opening the season against Virginia in Mercedes-Benz Stadium. 

“It’s a little too early to tell whether we’re going to open on Labor Day with a packed house, or a sparse crowd or no crowd at all,” Kemp said on the SEC Network’s Paul Finebaum Show on Wednesday. 

Georgia is scheduled to open the season on Labor Day night against the Cavaliers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. 

“I know everybody wants to have a crowd there,” Kemp said. “I would urge people to continue to follow the guidance so we can drive these numbers down so that we can do that. But we stand ready to work with them.”

Peach Bowl, Inc. CEO and president Gary Stoken told the Athens Banner-Herald that his organization plans on being ready for a start to the season that doesn’t involve moving dates. 

“Right now everything is still in place for the games to be played as scheduled, and that is everyone’s intent at this time,” he told the outlet. 

UGA, like the rest of college football, is facing an unprecedented opening of college football that involves uncertainty the likes of which the sport has never seen. Schools across the country are trying to figure out what the start of the season will look like, and if fans will be involved. 

Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith said Wednesday the Buckeyes could have fans in the stands, but not close to the normal 102,000 fans in Columbus. 

"We have played a little bit with the social distancing concept," Smith told reporters. "We know that will probably take us down south of 30,000 fans in the stands, actually closer to 20,000-22,000. We've played with that a little bit as a framework to start.”

Other parts of college football are showing signs that a season in the fall is going to move forward one way or another. 

The NCAA voted on Wednesday to allow “voluntary” on-campus workouts on June 1st. The SEC, too, is poised to allow workouts in June as well, but the league is trying to settle on June 1st or 15th. School presidents will make the call on one of those two dates on Friday. 

“I know everybody wants to have a crowd there,” Kemp said of the UGA opener. “I would urge people to continue to follow the guidance so that we can drive these numbers down so we can do that.”

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