In a 60 Minutes piece that aired over the weekend, North Carolina athletics director Bubba Cunningham remains hopeful on the return of college football in 2020 — despite the COVID-19 global pandemic.
Cunningham mentioned UNC tiered/staggered approach to return athletes to campus, which is underway for football. (The first group of players arrived June 12. Basketball will start in early July.) There’s optimism from Cunningham’s point of view that this procedure provides safety and efficiency.
As far as attendance goes for those games — a crucial revenue stream in big-time college athletics — Cunningham suggested an interesting approach, which John Bauman noted on Twitter. In Cunningham’s suggested method, football games would have general admission (like a concert); however, beyond that, the crowd would be tasked with socially distancing itself.
Cunningham outlined an approach I hadn't heard about before – general admission to the game, then let the crowd naturally social distance itself. Could maybe sit in a cluster with your family.
Would that work?
— John Bauman (@bauman_john) June 14, 2020
It’s an interesting concept, to be sure. On its face, there seem to be a variety of complications; guidelines would still need to be in place for concession stands and bathroom policies, too. For instance, in a stadium that holds over 50,000 people, not all seats and vantage points are created equal. How would that impact a general admission procedure?
Of course, people of more advanced age are more susceptible to the deadly aspect of the coronavirus, too. Will there be any measures in place to accommodate for older attendees? Or again, will this fall on the shoulders of those going to the games? Is it their risk to assume?
Plus: as some states have started to reopen, there have been countless examples of people — out at bars, restaurants, whatever — not wearing masks. Can attendees be trusted to wear masks and police themselves? Will there be stadium workers in place to enforce safety procedures.