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.
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