MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WTVF) — Middle Tennessee State University is welcoming True Blue fans back to Floyd stadium for the football team's first home game of the fall season Saturday. But, as with most things right now, the experience will be a lot different.
According to the university, stadium capacity is being limited to 20-percent, or about 7,000 fans in the stands. No tailgating will be allowed outside the stadium on game day. Fans will need to practice social distancing and wear face masks, as well.
Even the entertainment will be different, with the Band of Blue staying in the upper deck during the game, and even for their half-time performance. "So you get a sliver of what the college atmosphere is like, but it'll still be an empty field at halftime," said MTSU Director of Athletics, Chris Massaro.
Massaro praised his staff, saying they've thought about everything down to the referees' whistles. "They're using electronic whistles instead of the mouth whistles," said Massaro.
While a lot of work has gone into making sure fans feel safe in the stands amid the pandemic, Massaro said the focus really is on the student athletes. They are being tested three times a week to ensure that no one has COVID-19 and passes it along to other members of their team and the athletic staff.
"They can't be a normal college student," Massaro said. "We've tried to really cut down their socialization and they've done a good job of it thus far. It's a big sacrifice, but our student athletes have made it because bottom line is, they want to play their respective sports."
MTSU will be watching local coronavirus infection rates to determine whether it's safe to keep hosting games.
When MTSU's football team takes the field against Troy University on Saturday, Massaro hopes that fans will respect the rules and guidelines so these games can continue.
"We need everybody's cooperation for it to be successful," said Massaro. "I'm excited about it. I know our fan base is excited. To actually go and sit in Floyd stadium and watch a football game is a real treat."
The Blue Raiders take on Troy University on Saturday at 3 p.m.
What is the rebound?
As Middle Tennessee works to rebound from the impact of the Coronavirus, we want to help. Whether it's getting back to work, making ends meet during this uncertain time, or managing the pressure, we're committed to finding solution. In addition, we want to tell your stories of hope, inspiration, and creativity as Middle Tennessee starts to rebound.
Find more in the sections below
Safely Back to SchoolHow schools are changing, and what you can do to help your child get the most from their education, in-person or virtual
Getting Back To WorkLearn about the latest job openings, how to file for benefits and succeed in the job market.
Making Ends MeetFind help on topics from rent to food to new belt-tightening techniques
Managing the PressureFeeling isolated or frustrated? Learn ways to connect with people virtually, get counseling or manage your stress.
Doing What’s RightKeep track of the way people are spending your tax dollars and treating your community.
State of EducationFind ways to cope with the new normal around schools and celebrate students’ success in the age of Coronavirus.
We're Open Y'allSupport local businesses doing their best to stay open and serve their customers during Covid.