AUSTIN (KXAN) — Fans will be allowed inside the Frank Erwin Center for Tuesday’s men’s basketball game between No. 5 Texas and No. 2 Baylor, according to an email from Texas Athletics.
The exact number of fans that will be permitted to enter the building for the showdown between the Big 12’s top two teams is unclear.
Longhorns home athletic events have been played behind closed doors for most of January due to the rate of COVID-19 in the area. The Longhorns men’s basketball team last played at home in front of fans on Dec. 20.
On Jan. 26, Texas athletics director Chris Del Conte wrote on Twitter the department decided to pause fan attendance out of an abundance of caution after consulting with local health officials.
The Frank Erwin Center can normally hold around 16,500 fans for basketball games. This season, Texas Athletics have limited attendance to around 2,000 people during the pandemic.
UT’s decision to allow fans this week isn’t directly linked, but the announcement does come a day after capacity restrictions for local businesses were relaxed following a decline in COVID-19 hospitalizations in Travis County.
The Longhorns went 2-2 during the four fan-less men’s basketball games, beating Iowa State and Kansas State and losing to Texas Tech and Oklahoma. Head coach Shaka Smart missed Tuesday’s game against OU after announcing he tested positive for COVID-19.
Texas was scheduled to play at Kentucky on Saturday in the Big 12-SEC Showdown, but the game was canceled after Kentucky paused team activities due to COVID-19.