Purdue President Mitch Daniels spoke to a U.S Senate committee this Thursday on the possibility of another COVID-19 outbreak later this year.
Daniels introduced the “Protect Purdue Pledge” explaining to Senators what the university’s plans are regarding next school year and keeping students, faculty and staff safe throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The plan includes many health measures that will or could be taken coming to West Lafayette this fall both in the classroom and sporting events.
This will have a large impact on Purdue athletic events this coming year and some are saying that college football may not be played at all. Daniels is optimistic that sports will resume this fall, but with some added wrinkles to the health measures.
It appears that the plan going forward for Purdue football is to keep the capacity of Ross Ade Stadium at 25% during home games. The question would then become who will be able to purchase tickets and attend the games, as there are many groups that should be present if they choose to be such as the student section, John Purdue Club, and season ticket holders among others. The stadium holds over 57,000 spectators, which would be cut down to around 14,250 fans if the university were to go through with this plan.
Other events such as basketball, soccer, and indoor sports would be subject to a change as well.
When asked about a possible second outbreak of COVID-19, Daniels said that Purdue would be forced to “shut it down” if a team had a large number of coaches, staff or athletes contract the virus for the health of the school.
Daniels is putting the health of staff and student athletes first as he said, “And that starts with the safety of people — players, coaches. Don’t forget that the people who may be at most risk of a spread here are the older folks, coaches and others. So I hope we get back. But if it takes longer or if it is subject to interruption, then so be it,”.
Obviously, all of this could change based on other circumstances such as government rulings regarding social distancing, what the trend of the number of individuals who have contracted it are and advice from health officials and experts.
Sports fans all over the country are crossing their fingers that live college sports will be back sooner rather than later even if they have to sacrifice attending games in person.
More info on Daniels’ statements can be found here, via USA Today’s Steve Berkowitz.