Iowa Football

Some longtime Hawkeye football attendees say they'll sit this season out

I asked if you'd go to games, and you answered

A tailgate before a football game at Kinnick Stadium. (The Gazette)
A tailgate before a football game at Kinnick Stadium. (The Gazette)

Last week, I asked you to tell me if you would be comfortable going to college football games this fall.

Thanks to all who replied. Each of the following excerpts were from people who attached their names to their emails:

• “I am a 50-something woman who has been an I-Club member for over 30 years, and an Iowa football season ticket-holder for over 25 years. I graduated from Iowa, and so did our son and daughter. I did not renew my football season tickets this year.

“As a longtime ticket-holder, I have often experienced being herded like cattle through the gates at Kinnick Stadium … fans packed in tightly together, trying to jockey for position to get past security and ticket scanners. I have sat shoulder-to-shoulder and knee-to-back for many years, so I can’t see how it would be safe for everyone to go to a game and cheer on the team.”

• "As a 40-plus year Iowa season ticket-holder I have given this considerable thought. I can’t say I have never missed a game but I can say you could count them on three fingers. On one hand I want to support the team I love but on the other I want to be smart and not get sick. Everything I have read about this virus leads me to believe being a part of large clusters of fans is precisely the worst environment for older adults (I’m 66).

“I am leaning towards not attending and giving my tickets (should I be granted access) to a younger person, less vulnerable, who might not otherwise have the opportunity to attend. Someone who I might be able to interest in becoming a season ticket-holder in the future.”

• “Me/wife plan on attending Iowa football games this year. Have had season tickets for 20 years. We tailgate with 6 other couples and everybody’s kids. Think if face masks were made mandatory, it would be an acceptable policy.”

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• “I personally would not attend because I’m in a high-risk category. However, I feel strongly that full attendance should be allowed at college games. My reasoning:

“Generally only elderly and compromised health individuals are at risk of death. Younger, healthy people experience a “flu” event. Many are turning out to be naturally asymptomatic and seemingly immune. Let the vulnerable stay home and let the rest go. The sooner we hit herd immunity, the sooner this will pass!

“When you live in fear, are you really living, or just existing?”

• “My husband and I have had season tickets since 1980. Short of some kind of unlikely miracle happening between now and the start of the season, we will not be attending games this year. We don’t think it is possible that people can attend and be safe. We hope we are wrong.”

• “We live 1 mile from Kinnick. We will not be attending ANY football games this fall — it’s not safe due to COVID-19 and because many people refuse to wear masks and keep physical distance.”

I also got replies via Twitter. Among them:

• “I’ll be there.”

• “I will happily watch from home this year. Having a cancer-surviving son living at home — it’s not worth the risk for us.”

• “I have my season tix and I plan to use them!”

• “Full capacity would make me concerned but 1/2 or 1/3 with it being outdoors would work for me. My son plays D-III football and I plan to attend all of them — obviously much different crowd size.”

• “Going!”

• “I’m in, hopefully!”

Unlike too many public Facebook pages, comments at the Mike Hlas — The Gazette Facebook page are civil. Some of their replies to my question about attending games:

• “I won’t be attending. It’s a sad situation but until the CDC gives the all-clear I will be watching at home. I am happy that the games will be played at all.”

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• “I’ve never been to one as a fan, but half the crowd size would make it tempting to try a game.”

• “No way! And I do not think the players, coaches, etc. should be putting themselves and everyone they will come into contact with at risk for entertainment. The threat is real and it is serious. People are dying.”

It’s almost July.

Comments: (319) 368-8840; mike.hlas@thegazette.com

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