Texas Gov. Greg Abbott reportedly told the state's FBS athletic directors Friday they shouldn't expect stadiums to allow more than 50 percent capacity during the 2020 college football season amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Dan Wolken of USA Today reported Abbott said on a conference call the only way to reach full attendance this year would be a COVID-19 vaccine or a "drastic drop" in cases before the season begins.
Texas athletic director Chris Del Conte told Nick Moyle of the Houston Chronicle he was planning for 100 percent capacity this fall, but he said it was far from a guarantee.
"I tell people, 'I don't know; I think,'" Del Conte said Thursday. "We don't know what's going to happen, but we can plan. And we've done that. I'm proud of our response."
A Texas Tribune report Friday noted COVID-19 cases in the state reached a new daily high of 2,166, which marked the third straight day the figure was over 2,000. Abbott said he's "concerned, but not alarmed" by the numbers and didn't plan to scale back Texas' reopening plans:
"There is this need, however, and that is, every single one of your viewers, they have the total ability themselves to make sure they do not get COVID-19. It is their choice about whether or not they are gonna go out and congregate with others or go to a store, whatever it is they may want to do. It is incumbent upon every individual in Texas to make sure that they are doing all they can not to get or transmit COVID-19 as we do open up the economy. You have your own control of whether or not you will be getting this disease."
No final decision has been made about the 2020 college football season as coronavirus cases increase with states trying to reopen to limit the financial impact following a months-long shutdown.
In May, NCAA president Mark Emmert explained it's unlikely fall sports will be given the green light unless all students are cleared for returning to campus.
"All of the commissioners and every president that I've talked to is in clear agreement: If you don't have students on campus, you don't have student-athletes on campus," Emmert said. "... If a school doesn't reopen, then they're not going to be playing sports. It's really that simple."
For now, the college football season is scheduled to kick off Aug. 29. The first game in Texas is slated for Sept. 3 when Houston hosts Rice.