PAC-12 allowing family at football games, health departments get final call

Oct 15, 2020, 9:55 AM | Updated: 9:58 am
in-person convocations to be held at rice-eccles stadium this year...
The University of Utah's Rice-Eccles Stadium is pictured in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2020. Photo: Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — It appears that PAC-12 football stadiums won’t be empty this season, after all. The conference announced Wednesday that it’s changing their previous policy, which did not allow any fans to attend games this year due to coronavirus concerns.

PAC-12 allowing family only to games

The latest policy from the conference will allow family members to attend games in-person this fall. In a press release, they add that it will be subject to local public health authority approval.

“The Pac-12 confirms that the Pac-12 CEO Group on September 24 approved student-athlete families to be able to attend football games this season, subject to local public health authority approval and in accordance with NCAA guidelines,” it reads. “Each of our member schools working through what will be allowed in terms of family member attendance on that basis.”

Health departments granted veto power

Here in Utah, despite recently revised health guidance levels, it appears that Rice-Eccles Stadium will be able to accommodate the players’ families in the stands.

Current requirements, according to the state’s coronavirus website, include:

• “Masks are required; performers are excluded.”

• “Completion of Event Management Template is required.”

• “Individual businesses will be expected to modify their operations based on individual outbreaks; LHD discretion on severity of modifications, supported by UDOH.”

Last week, Utes head coach Kyle Wittingham was quoted saying that he would love to see families in the stadium this year. 

“We’d love to have the opportunity to have family in the stadium,” he says.

The announcement comes amid reports that Wittingham is taking one of the largest pay cuts in the country. A USA Today report indicates the Utes head coach is taking a $365,822 pay cut this year, which is the second-highest in the country behind only Florida State head football coach Mike Norvell, who will take a cut of $468,750.

University of Utah athletic director Mark Harlan said in September that there would be department-wide furloughs due to the coronavirus pandemic impacting financials. 

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PAC-12 allowing family at football games, health departments get final call