The Blue Hens’ unprecedented spring football season is less than a month away, but it appears unlikely that fans will be permitted in the stands, a University of Delaware representative said Monday.
“All I’ve heard is we would be lucky to have fans, and if there’s going to be anyone in the stands for anything, it would most likely be restricted to [players’] family,” Caitlin Olsen, UD’s director of government relations, told city council. “That is going to come down to the rules, the numbers in our area, how that’s looking, and really, the president and the administration’s comfort level with it.”
Olsen noted that no definitive decision has been made, but her comments were the university’s most detailed public statement yet about the likelihood of in-person fans at football games and other sporting events on campus.
The Hens did not play football last fall due to the pandemic, deciding instead to try for the spring. The team will play seven games this spring and then return to action in the fall for a more normal season.
In a letter to season ticket holders last month, UD athletics officials said they were still working with the state to determine if some fans would be allowed. However, they are already selling tickets for the three home football games this spring – March 6, March 13 and April 3.
Single-game tickets range from $19 to $109, and with the stadium capacity certain to be limited, tickets will be allotted on a prioritized basis determined by how much the purchaser has donated to the university and other loyalty factors. Officials said that if fans aren’t allowed, ticket buyers will have the option to receive a refund, apply credit to their account or convert payments into a donation.
This year should have been a momentous one for Blue Hen football, with the university planning to celebrate the completion of the long-awaited stadium renovation – including a club for premium seat-holders – and athletic performance center.
However, Olsen said, most fans will probably have to wait until at least the fall to check out the new amenities.
“We do have a big stadium, but to keep everybody comfortable, I think they’ll start off with nothing,” she said. “But I have not heard anything for sure lately. Just that the hope is maybe we can get some moms and dads in there at some point.”