UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State and Intercollegiate Athletics are pleased to invite seniors to cheer on the Nittany Lions during a special football practice on Friday, April 23, in Beaver Stadium. The April 23 practice will take place in addition to the spring practice scheduled with first-year students and virtual initiatives for the community on April 17.
“This is an important moment for our seniors and we had intended to extend the opportunity for them to attend the April 17 spring practice, but we were unable due to community health concerns when cases started to rise,” said Penn State President Eric Barron. “However, the practices were extended and as health conditions have stabilized, we are thankful to make this shift in programming so that seniors can showcase their Penn State spirit and participate in this longstanding tradition.”
While the governor’s orders have relaxed to allow for 50% capacity for outdoor gatherings, the six-foot distancing rule remains in place, which still drastically limits capacity. Since the football team’s practice schedule has been modified, the opportunity to welcome seniors to a practice in the stadium that meets physical distancing and safety guidelines is now an option.
“We are excited to be able to welcome our seniors for this special spring practice and give them a chance to connect with Penn State Football in Beaver Stadium before graduation,” said Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Sandy Barbour. “The seniors have exhibited such resilience over the last year, as has the rest of our campus community, and we are so proud of everything they have accomplished during their time at Penn State.”
The University is continuing to closely monitor cases and is urging students to remain vigilant in following all COVID-19 public health guidelines. Penn State is prepared to shift plans should circumstances surrounding the pandemic change or worsen.
Senior students who are currently taking at least one in-person class at University Park are eligible to attend the spring practice and will receive an email from Penn State Athletics by Monday, April 19, to their Penn State email address with additional details about registering for tickets. At this time, only in-person senior students, whether living on or off campus at University Park, are eligible to attend in order to minimize visitors to the community and to limit the spread of COVID-19. In addition, families of student-athletes, coaches and staff will be in attendance.
To attend, eligible students must:
- Register for tickets in advance (no walk-ups).
- Wear face masks at all times in the stadium.
- Adhere to physical distancing requirements.
- Remain in their assigned seating during the practice with their pre-determined three-person pods.
To help support the health and safety of those in attendance, tickets will be required and there will be ingress and egress protocols, pod seating, enhanced cleaning and more. To comply with Pennsylvania’s capacity limits for outdoor gatherings and physical distancing requirements — which limit the number of people in attendance well below the state guidance — there will not be ability to add beyond this capacity.
Athletics will provide additional information to students about how to register for tickets so they can be seated together with friends in their defined pods. Seating will be arranged throughout the stadium to support physical distancing, and the distribution of pods will be as fair and equitable as possible but will be assigned randomly.
“We appreciate our students’ enthusiasm and the energy they will bring into the stadium and are thrilled that we are able to extend this opportunity,” Barron said. “The majority of our students are taking the appropriate steps to help mitigate the spread of the virus by masking and staying physically distant; however, students must continue to follow public health guidance leading up to — and on the day of — the practice for this event to be able to take place.”
To minimize the potential for individuals to congregate outside the stadium, tailgating will not be permitted under any circumstances, and certain University parking lots will be closed. University Police and Public Safety will enforce tailgating restrictions. Students who live off campus and need to park in order to attend the practice will be able to do so in the East and Eisenhower parking decks.