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Minnesota Football announces very limited or no fans will be at games this fall

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This is pretty much the least shocking thing ever.

NCAA Football: Wisconsin at Minnesota Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

The Gophers made an official announcement about attendance at football games this fall via an email to season ticket holders yesterday. With the announcement of a Big Ten schedule, the U wanted fans to know what to expect when it came to watching games in person. The message? Don’t expect to go to games at TCF Banks Stadium this fall due to local and state health restrictions:

Based on recommendations from local health officials and guidelines in place on the state and local levels, there will be a drastic reduction in the number of spectators permitted to attend Gopher sporting events this fall. Current guidelines from the Minnesota Department of Health specify that venues must reduce occupant capacity to no more than 1,500 (outdoor venues) patrons. With this reduction, we anticipate few spectators or no spectators at all at TCF Bank Stadium. Our staff is committed to working closely with government officials to monitor guidelines and adjust policies as needed.

In summary, the max number of fans allowed at TCFBS is 1,500 (i.e. about 3% of capacity). This is not a situation unique to Minnesota. Penn State announced earlier today that they will also play without fans this year. I’d expect other Big Ten schools to follow suit in the coming days and weeks.

This obviously creates a series of challenges for the Athletics Department, so they are making the following changes this season to adapt:

If fans are permitted to attend home football games at TCF Bank Stadium, a limited number of tickets may be distributed on an individual, game-by-game basis.

There will be no football season tickets. Your status as a season ticket holder remains unchanged, and your season ticket location will be retained for the 2021 season.

There will be no season ticket upgrade or adjustment process for the 2020 football season. Seat upgrades and change requests will take place prior to the 2021 season.

Gifts made after November 1, 2019 will continue to provide current year Gopher Score points through the 2021-22 athletics season.

The biggest change here is no season tickets for 2020. However, the U is going above and beyond to keep season ticket holders whole and to do right by the most passionate Gopher fans. I’ll explain how below, but before I do, it’s important to stress that other schools (cough Penn State cough) have decided to prioritize revenues over customer service in these difficult times:

Despite also facing funding shortfalls, Minnesota is offering season ticket holders who have renewed their 2020 football season tickets several options for how to proceed. No matter what choice a fan makes, they will retain their seats and seating priority for next fall.

1. Any amount of your season ticket order may be converted to a 100% charitable donation to the Golden Gopher Fund Fans that donate to either the Golden Gopher Fund or Athletics Director’s Excellence Fun one of the two funds below will receive 20 Gopher Score points per $100 donated for current year giving (double the traditional 10 points per $100 donated).

2. 2020 season ticket orders may be applied to the 2021 football season. No action is needed to carry your credit forward to the 2021 season. Any amount credited from the 2020 season will automatically be applied to your 2021 season ticket purchase.

3. Season ticket holders may request a 100% refund of the paid amount for the 2020 season by reaching out to Gopher Fan Relations by calling 1-800-U-GOPHER or emailing fans@gopherfanrelations.com. Refund requests may take 4 to 6 weeks to process.

HATS OFF to the U for doing the right thing here. Most importantly, good on them from doing the right thing from the beginning (these were the options Minnesota privately decided on back in March when the pandemic first hit, not something they came to recently or needed to be talked into).

I’m interested in knowing what the season ticket holders among us are planning to do, so please vote in the poll below or leave a comment with you plans now that we know to plan for a fall without in person football.

Poll

What are you going to do as a season ticket holder?

This poll is closed

  • 11%
    1) Donate my ticket costs and get double the points.
    (8 votes)
  • 61%
    2) Carry over to next fall.
    (41 votes)
  • 26%
    3) Get a refund for this fall.
    (18 votes)
67 votes total Vote Now