Oklahoma's Lincoln Riley on Playing Without Fans: We'll Play in the Parking Lot

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistApril 11, 2020

Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley speaks at an NCAA college football news conference in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Friday, Dec. 28, 2018. Alabama plays Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl on Saturday, Dec. 29. (AP Photo/Joe Skipper)
Joe Skipper/Associated Press

Oklahoma Sooners head coach Lincoln Riley doesn't seem to mind the possibility of playing football games in an empty stadium. 

In an interview with Mark Packer of SiriusXM Radio, Riley said the Sooners will "play in the parking lot" if they have to:

Given the uncertainty around the coronavirus pandemic, Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby told reporters there's a chance games could be played this fall without fans in stadiums. 

Bowlsby noted it's "hard to forecast those things" at this point. 

The notion of playing in empty stadiums has been met with resistance from some prominent figures in the college football world. 

Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick told ESPN's Adam Rittenberg he couldn't "see a model where we play, at least any extended number of games, in facilities where we don't have fans."

Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith told reporters Friday that he is also struggling with the concept of empty-stadium games. 

"When I first heard that, I said, 'OK, that could work.' But I figured if we don't have fans in the stands, we've determined it's not safe for them in a gathering environment," Smith said. "So why would it be safe for the players?"

Oklahoma is scheduled to open the 2020 season on Sept. 5 at Oklahoma Memorial Stadium against Missouri State. 

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