Fall sports to have different game day look, same opportunities to support


Jonathan Bonaguro

Sophomore guard Ayo Dosumnu jumps to catch a rebound during the match against Iowa on March 8.

By Gabby Hajduk, Sports Editor

If you’re a football fan, or just someone looking to expand their interests, experiencing the atmosphere of a Big Ten football game for the first time is unforgettable. Freshman year might not be the first time you’ve ever attended a college football game, but to do it as a student brings a different feeling. 

The near future of sports is still up in the air right now due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Many Illinois football players returned to campus this summer and have been preparing for a potential fall season. While no one will know for sure how the 2020 college football season will go, here are some potential scenarios and ways to still cheer for the Illini. 

Best case scenario

If all goes according to plan, the Illini will have a regular football season with the first kickoff being at Memorial Stadium on Sept. 4 against in-state opponent, Illinois State. In accordance with Phase 4 of Illinois governor J.B. Pritzker’s Restore Illinois plan, Memorial Stadium would be able to hold 20% of its capacity. With fan capacity set at 60,670, Memorial Stadium would be able to seat 12,152 fans at each home game. 

If you are not one of those lucky 12,152 people, the hope would be to watch the game with your friends at a local restaurant, bar or even at someone’s apartment or dorm while still abiding by the campus social distancing requirements. 

Worst case scenario

For everyone looking forward to college football, the worst case scenario would be the cancellation of the 2020 season. While we would have to trust health experts and NCAA leaders in making the safest decision for everyone involved, it would still be devastating to fans, athletes, coaches and their families.

Even without a football season, you could still show support for the Illini. Wearing your Illinois gear around campus, reading articles about the team or its players or watching throwback games are all viable options. 

Not bad, not great scenario

There is potential for a middle-of-the-road scenario where college football is played but without fans or a very limited number of fans, including a family only option. While you, a student, wouldn’t get the chance to attend the games and pack Memorial Stadium, you would still be able to watch the Illini and support the team. 

In this scenario, watching the game with your friends at KAM’s, Scotty’s Brewhouse or even your dorm or apartment would definitely be plausible and would still make for a great atmosphere and time. You could then get access to postgame coverage and articles via our very own website, https://dailyillini.com/sports/

While none of these scenarios will replicate the true atmosphere of a Big Ten football game at Memorial Stadium, they still provide you ways to mimic that experience as best as possible. And, hopefully, that real experience will come in your remaining years as a student at the University. 

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