Cancel tailgating graphic

The Georgia Bulldogs kicked off their football season on Sep. 26 at Arkansas, where they defeated the Razorbacks 37-10. They’ll face Auburn in Athens on Oct. 3, followed by Tennessee on Oct. 10.

While the University of Georgia Athletic Association adjusted seats to support physical distancing at around a fifth of capacity, much more has to be done to ensure that the football season can proceed without risk of a COVID-19 outbreak. There should be no fans in the stands whatsoever, and on-campus tailgating of any kind should be disallowed.

Even at lower capacity, there are too many opportunities for fans to infect each other to make having them in the stands worthwhile. They’ll be clustering at the gates, in concourses, at concession stands, in bathrooms and outside the stadium. Security guards and other staff members will be exposed to thousands of fans.

And of course, we should not expect fans to perfectly follow every COVID-19 guideline, especially not if they’re inebriated. Will fans really keep their masks on at all times and maintain physical distancing? It’s too risky to consider bringing fans to Sanford Stadium, especially not those from outside Athens, who could bring the coronavirus to the city or bring it back to their families and friends.

These problems are compounded when fans are allowed to congregate outside of the stadium. While UGAAA has banned tailgates on campus this season, fans will be allowed to “gather in parking lots” up to three hours before kickoff. This is effectively allowing tailgating.

Additionally, the university cannot regulate what happens off campus. In addition to disallowing tailgates (or tailgates by another name) on campus, the university should disincentivize off-campus tailgates by barring fans from the stadium.

These suggestions do not come without significant trade-offs. A significant amount of money depends on selling tickets and bringing fans to Athens.

Perhaps, if the state of Georgia and the federal government took more active measures to stop the pandemic back when the outbreak first began, this discussion wouldn’t have to happen. More than 200,000 Americans could still be alive, and fans could potentially get together to watch Georgia football like any other year, more or less.

Ultimately, the university should make the decisions that best protect fans, students, staff and Athenians. Fans should not be allowed in the stands at Georgia home football games, and tailgates of any kind should not be permitted on campus. Any other course of action would be deeply irresponsible.

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(6) comments

peregrined

Thanks for this thoughtful opinion. We resident Athenians have no choice as to UGA's encroachment on our community, and the "requirements" they put forth are laughable. The opinion that only older people get it is wrong, because so many have conditions that make them vulnerable as well, plus, shouldn't we be protecting everyone? I hope civility in Athens didn't get taken hostage, or even die at the hands of football and tuition $---

EricStratton

Encroachment?

They are your community!

Or, maybe you have been there before 1785.

peregrined

No guidance to students who get no randomized testing when they go into the community, inviting 1,000's of imbibing people to town during a pandemic without any community input--- adds up to me

EricStratton

I am not sure how to reply. Perhaps, someday, you will take the time to express your thoughts in a cogent manner.

EricStratton

Oh, please stop the hysteria!

Covid is dangerous to older Americans. In fact, 57% of US covid deaths are from those aged over 75 and 78% of those who have passed have been over the age of 65! This is as of 9/30/2020 and it's avaialable at the CDC - https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/vsrr/covid_weekly/index.htm

As of September 22 - 48,299 college students have contracted covid this fall. Two have been hospitalized and none have died. https://www.outkick.com/latest-college-campus-covid-statistics-show-no-death-nearly-zero-hospitalizations/

So, Jack Scott of the young Democrats, wants you healthy college students to be locked down in fear. No tailgates. No college gameday on the Myers quad. No students in Sanford for the Auburn game.

This simple data makes me wonder. Does Jack know the real facts? Maybe, he is just plain ignorant of the truth. If so, please read up and learn. Or, maybe he knows that covid poses virtually no risk for most college aged students. Yet, he still pushes a hysterical course of action. Why? Politics? Only Jack Scott knows that.

Let every student that wants to go to college gameday go! Let every student that wants to go to Sanford Stadium Saturday night go! Heck, half of them already had covid and beat it. Live your life! Enjoy your college experience. And, beat Auburn!

Go Dawgs!

Sauce

Yes , that's certainly an opinion. A dumb one, but an opinion nonetheless.

Reasons why its dumb:

1) People should be allowed to assess their own risk

2) The virus isn't as dangerous as originally advertised, with over 99.5% of people under 70 who get it doing just fine (long term effects have nothing but anecdotal evidence behind them)

3) Outdoor transmission of the virus is near 0

4) Transmission of the virus by asymptomatic people is near 0

5) Georgia is already nearing herd immunity

This entire fiasco has been rock-bottom for the entire "journalism" industry

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