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Baylor football could open at 25 percent stadium capacity

Baylor football could open at 25 percent stadium capacity

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Baylor athletic director Mack Rhoades said on Wednesday the university is looking at potentially opening McLane Stadium at 25 percent capacity for football games.

Earlier in the summer, Rhoades had hoped to hold home football games at 50 percent capacity, but the recent spike in COVID-19 cases in Texas is making Baylor officials look at modifying the number.

Additionally, Texas and Texas Tech are exploring 25 percent capacity at home football games. At 25 percent capacity, Baylor could allow 11,250 fans into the 45,000-seat stadium.

Rhoades said Baylor will also follow COVID-19 state guidelines at games with fans wearing face masks, social distancing and sanitizing hands.

“From the very beginning, we’ve based our models on what we’ve heard from the governor and what the state is doing,” Rhoades said. “We had settled in on 50 percent capacity and were ready to proceed, but now there’s some thought that we might begin capacity at 25 percent. That’s a possibility we’re exploring.”

Rhoades hopes to finalize the capacity at games and the team’s revised schedule within the next week.

The Big 12 announced Monday that the league’s 10 teams will play a 10-game schedule that includes nine conference games and one nonconference game. The league plans to begin conference play in mid- to late-September.

Rhoades said Baylor expects to play either Incarnate Word or Louisiana Tech at McLane Stadium before opening conference play. But he said the Sept. 19 game against Incarnate Word or the Sept. 26 game against Louisiana Tech would likely need to be moved to Sept. 12 if the Big 12 begins conference play on Sept. 26.

Baylor was scheduled to play Kansas on Sept. 12, but that game will likely be moved to later in the season when the Big 12 revises the schedule.

“There are still some variables to play out like when do we start conference play,” Rhoades said. “That could potentially dictate the date for our first (nonconference) game. Right now, there are a lot of moving parts.”

Baylor’s season opener against Ole Miss on Sept. 6 at NRG Stadium in Houston was canceled last Thursday when the SEC announced that it will play a 10-game conference-only schedule beginning Sept. 26.

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