MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Come this fall, college football games may not look like they always have. The University of Memphis announced Wednesday that because of social distancing, it’s likely only season ticket holders will get tickets.
“Now we’ve got the curve flattened, we’ve got to keep it flat or make it go away,” said Dr. Jeff Warren, a Memphis City Council member and member of the city-county COVID-19 task force.
He said crowd restrictions at any large events are here to stay so long as COVID-19 remains a threat.
"It's probably not going to be safe until we have a vaccine," he said.
Warren said one positive thing about college football is that it’s played outside as there’s much more risk of COVID-19 transmission in an indoor space.
On Wednesday, the University of Memphis put out a message regarding the fall football season. The university said because of guidance from the Tennessee Department of Health, capacity will be reduced at the Liberty Bowl to account for social distance.
The university said at this point only season ticket holders will get tickets, with priority going to those who purchase by June 30. The university does not anticipate offering single game tickets this season, officials said.
Down the road in Oxford, Ole Miss officials are also preparing for capacity cuts. In a message to fans this week, the university said season ticket holders renewed by June 15 get the first pick if seats are limited.
"Our hope is to have a full Vaught-Hemingway stadium for the entire 2020 season," the message reads.
Both The University of Memphis and Ole Miss are offering refunds, credits, and charitable donations if the fall season gets disrupted.
It remains unclear how many fans would be allowed inside the Liberty Bowl. A city spokesperson told WMC Action News 5 Wednesday the figure had not yet been determined.
"As one of the six largest counties in Tennessee, those figures are set by the Shelby County Health Department in cooperation with local health experts and municipal/county government officials. A determination by SCHD has not been made yet but is currently being worked on," said Arlenia Cole, with the city of Memphis.