The Arizona Cardinals allowed a limited number of fans, including family members and “close friends,” during their a home game against the Detroit Lions on Sept. 27.
When they took down the Seattle Seahawks in a thriller at Glendale’s State Farm Sunday, Oct. 25, the Cardinals allowed 1,200 fans—still far less than the 63,000 stadium capacity.
When the Pac-12 football season kicks off Nov. 7, the festivities won’t include fans, at least initially. But conference players hope to have their parents there.
Multiple players, including ASU quarterback Jayden Daniels, have promoted a petition started by Sahaja Douglass, the mother of USC offensive lineman Liam Douglass, on their social media accounts and expressed a strong desire for their parents to be permitted to attend games.
The petition, addressed to governors of states with Pac-12 teams and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, requests that the conference develop a plan “before the start of the 2020 season that allows families of the players to watch games live in the stadiums where they will be played.” It argues that social distancing in the conference’s football stadiums is “easily accomplished” due to their capacity and suggests family members wear masks and undergo temperature checks before entering stadiums.
Ray Anderson, ASU vice president for university athletics, said the decision to allow fans rests with government health officials and that the parents behind the petition are “misinformed.”
“We are in full favor of having family members and parents attend games, but at the end of the day it’s up to the local and county health authorities what we can do,” Anderson said. “Through the NCAA, athletes are allowed four tickets. We very much want to accommodate that.”
When the Pac-12 announced Sept. 24 that it would resume competition, it said that no fans would be allowed at games and that the health and safety of athletes and those connected to the program would be a priority. Commissioner Larry Scott added that issue would be revisited in January.
Anderson noted that as of now, when ASU starts its season at USC Nov. 7, “there will be no fans,” and stressed that while those supporting the petition may think the decision to keep fans out rests with the Pac-12, it does not. Daniels and several other ASU players are natives of Southern California, and the game likely presents the easiest opportunity for their parents to see them play.
The Arizona Department of Health Services told Cronkite News in September that the state has no specific guidelines for return to play, though it is unknown whether this extends to having fans at games.
Stanford quarterback Davis Mills stressed that while he would enjoy having his parents supporting him in person during potentially his final collegiate season, he remains prepared to play regardless.
“It would mean a great deal,” Mills said. “This potentially could be my last season of college football, and if my parents or close friends weren’t able to see that, it’d be tough.
“But I kind of have the mindset right now that whatever we got to do to play, we got to do that, because I’m excited to get this season moving forward.”