AUSTIN (KXAN) — Gov. Greg Abbott said he believes college football will begin on schedule in Texas with some fans in the stands, he told KXAN during an interview Friday.
“My prediction is yes we’re going to have college football beginning as scheduled, on schedule, with at least some level of fans in the stands,” the governor said.
Abbott said what is unclear at the moment is what the capacity level would be.
“Would it be strategic and limited to ensure that we have safe distancing practices, there are factors we simply do not know at this time,” Abbott explained about the potential health risks of reopening UT football in the fall.
Abbott stated that the University of Texas at Austin’s athletic director needs a decision by early August. He said the state thinks it should be able to make a decision by then.
Mary Lanier-Evans, a 30-year season ticket holder for Longhorns football, said she was excited by the governor’s announcement but still has questions.
“If it does open up,” she said, “how are they going to select the fans that are allowed to attend game-by-game? Out of 100,000 fans, if you have 50,000 of them who are season ticket holders or more, how are you going to select?”
Despite her concerns about getting into games, Lanier-Evans said she is impressed with how the school’s athletic department has navigated the pandemic. This week, she received two separate calls asking her for feedback.
The first UT game is scheduled for Sept. 5 in Austin against the University of South Florida.
Gov. Abbott announced the second phase of his “Open Texas” plan Monday, and that included the reopening of bars and other businesses at 25% capacity on Friday.
Abbott also discussed Texas’ response to the coronavirus and how some businesses are reopening despite not getting the go-ahead from the state.
“They subject themselves to potential litigation as well as potential licensing based issues if they fail to comply, so it’s a potentially business dangerous process for them to proceed forward knowing they are subjecting themselves to litigation if they open up and anyone contracts COVID-19,” explained Abbott.