Vanderbilt to allow ‘limited’ student attendance for home opener against LSU

After announcing that it would not allow anyone to attend athletic contests through October, Vanderbilt athletics announced it will allow a ‘limited’ number of students to attend.


Emily Gonçalves

Vanderbilt fans contrasting with Georgia fans in their 2019 matchup. (Hustler Multimedia/Emily Gonçalves)

Simon Gibbs, Sports Editor

Vanderbilt athletics announced on Sept. 28 that it will allow a “very limited” number of students to attend Vanderbilt football’s home opener against the No. 2o LSU Tigers. The announcement came roughly two and a half weeks after Vanderbilt initially decided to proceed with no fans in attendance.

“As part of our ongoing efforts, we’ve decided to allow a very limited number of Vanderbilt students to attend the Oct. 3 game and cheer on our student-athletes,” Athletic Director Candice Storey Lee said in a press release. “This is a small step toward normalcy based on guidance from our public health partners, but we are not taking it lightly. We will work to ensure the health and safety of the Vanderbilt community as much as possible.”

Senior undergraduate students will be given first priority to attend Vanderbilt’s home opener on Oct. 3, and will be contacted via email with more information on how to reserve tickets. All decisions about student attendance at future football games will be determined after the first game, according to the press release.

In the press release, the athletics department cited Vanderbilt’s COVID-19 positivity rate, which “continues to trend low” as a contributing factor. According to Vanderbilt’s COVID-19 dashboard, the university registered 38 positive tests in 6,790 test results from Sept. 21-27, good for a 0.56% positivity rate.

While the university has not yet released in-game protocols for prospective spectators, the release noted that the university will work directly with Vanderbilt Stadium to ensure that students are practicing physical distancing and wearing masks. Additionally, in order to mitigate movement across the stadium, all concessions stands will remain closed.

“Athletics is an important way for our community to connect with one another,” Chancellor Daniel Diermeier added. “Game day adds to the undergraduate student experience, providing an opportunity for students to participate in university traditions and make memories with friends. We believe that we can allow a limited number of students to attend as safely as possible and help foster school spirit and create meaningful connections among all our students.”