On Saturday, local fans celebrated a day that many were not sure if it would happen: the opening game for Kansas State University and the University of Kansas football.
“It’s very weird because it feels like you’re with 100 people instead of the however many they said were here,” said K-State fan DeeAnn Showalter.
The fan’s first-game excitement was still the same, despite the requirements.
“It’s good to be back, it’s good to be doing it and being here and cheering them on,” Showalter said.
K-State limited the amount of tickets fans can buy, as well as how many are sold.
Once fans left the stadium, they were unable to return. The football tradition of tailgating was also prohibited.
However, it didn’t stop the fans who could be at the game from coming out and supporting their Wildcats.
“I feel fine being at the game, everybody pretty well spreads out,” said K-State fan Doug Sommers. “There was cubbies of people and I’m assuming they knew each other. My wife and I sat apart from everybody so I didn’t have any issues with it.”
The Riley County Commissioners made the regulations, however they allowed a provision to their rule prohibiting facilities from having more than 2,000 people in a place at once.
K-State was still allowed to sell beer and wine at the games.
“Our staff has worked extremely hard in determining the best ticket options for our season ticket holders,” said K-State Athletic Director Gene Taylor in a statement. “We understand that this season is unlike any other we have ever experienced, but we are going to make Bill Snyder Family Stadium as safe as possible for those who attend beginning September 12.”
K-State fans were not the only ones having to face changes. KU kicked off their first game of the season against Coastal Carolina on Saturday.
A stadium usually filled with fans was completely empty, as University administrators made the decision on August 31 to not allow fans inside or to tailgate in the parking lot.
Some students wished to be able to experience sitting in the stands and cheer on their team for the first game.
Especially after the Kansas City Chiefs and K-State both held their first games with fans inside the stadium.
“I think the reason they did not let fans in is because they thought people weren’t going to tailgate, but people are tailgating,” said Anthony Vena, a junior at KU. “I don’t think that’s going to stop anyone. I honestly think we’re safer in the stadium. They can keep us apart and make us wear masks.”
“We know this is disappointing to those of you who planned to be on campus to root for the Jayhawks,” said KU’s Chancellor Douglas Girod. “This is the right decision for our community at this time.”
KU will reconsider reopening the stadiums for fans before their next home game set for Oct. 3.
K-State also will be holding their next home game on that same day.