University of Mississippi makes preparations for first football game amid coronavirus pandemic


OXFORD, Miss. — Saturday morning, the University of Mississippi Rebels will take on the Florida Gators for their first home game. But gameday is going to feel a little different due to COVID-19.

University of Mississippi officials say they plan to follow the guidance in Gov. Tate Reeves’ executive order that outlines specific regulations for university stadium events.

Related: University of Mississippi rolls out attendance plan for upcoming football season

“I didn’t expect to ever be spending gameday like that but at least we get to have gamedays,” said sophomore Peyton Klauber.

Under Reeves’ executive order, all game day social gatherings such as tailgating are prohibited.

“I definitely know my grandmother’s upset because that’s what she looked forward to the most,” said junior Parker Stearns.

Guests are also required to wear masks while moving about the stadium and must maintain six feet of distance between households.

The Vaught-Hemingway Stadium will only be at 25% capacity, which means a little more than 16,000 people can be in at a time.

Home game tickets will be available on a single-game basis and sold in monthly selection. Officials say this is to allow for potential capacity adjustments in the future.

“It’s a lot different because you’d pay $125 before the school year started, and you had tickets to football games, baseball games, basketball games, like any and everything. Now, it’s just $50 for one football game,” Stearns said.

The school reports more than 700 COVID-19 cases among staff and students since March.

University Police Department Chief Ray Hawkins said in a statement:

“While certain aspects of our planning have changed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, our ultimate goal remains the same – to keep our campus safe. We expect all those who visit our campus this weekend to abide by all university, local, state and federal laws, as well as, health and safety guidelines…”

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