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What Phillip Fulmer thinks of Tennessee football's chances to host a full crowd for opener

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Tennessee fans want to know: Will a football season happen this fall, and if so, how many fans will be in the stands?

Vols athletics director Phillip Fulmer encounters those questions in one conversation after another. He doesn’t have the answers yet, but he thinks the outlook looks promising for a season, and his desire is for the Vols to kick off on Sept. 5 against Charlotte without capacity restrictions at Neyland Stadium.

“I hear (those questions) every day, every time I talk to a donor or every time I talk to a sponsor or every time I talk to a fan – even my family. It’s constant, and it’s a good question,” Fulmer said Friday during an exclusive interview with Knox News.

“I absolutely think that everything is headed in a good direction for us to have this season. Again, circumstances could call for a change of some sort of direction. There’s still things on the table. We’re looking forward to having a season and a full stadium. We’ll adjust from there.”

 

Tennessee’s football players began voluntary workouts on Monday, marking the resumption of on-campus athletic activities after the coronavirus pandemic halted the sports world in March.

Tennessee tested its returning athletes for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, and no athletes tested positive, coach Jeremy Pruitt told ESPN Radio this week.

Sports such as NASCAR and the PGA Tour have resumed competition, but without fans.

 

As for college football, Iowa State announced it will limit capacity to about 30,000 fans to try to create some physical distancing in the stadium. Ohio State’s athletics director Gene Smith said his university is working on plans to reduce capacity for this season. But most universities are like Tennessee in that they haven’t announced any decisions regarding possible stadium capacity restrictions.

At Tennessee, Fulmer said that decision will involve input from many sectors “It’s not like Coach Fulmer is going to sit down and make a decision,” he said. “We’re going to make a decision collectively with our experts and the health department and the (medical) task force and the conference. And I think that’s much more healthy than one person or one group of people having all that responsibility.”

With a listed capacity of 102,455, Neyland Stadium is one of the largest stadiums in college football. Tennessee had an average announced average of 87,864 for eight home games during the 2019 season. That figure represents tickets distributed. The actual attendance average was 74,870.

While any definitive announcement probably remains a ways off, Fulmer’s hope is for Neyland Stadium to be at capacity when the Vols host Charlotte.

“That’s the desire, yes,” he said.

 

WWW.KNOXNEWS.COM

Phillip Fulmer's desire is for the Vols to kick off on Sept. 5 against Charlotte without capacity restrictions at Neyland Stadium.

 

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I just hope we have a season. If fans can be in the stands I’ll take it as a bonus.

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On 6/12/2020 at 11:37 PM, KingsportVol said:

I just hope we have a season. If fans can be in the stands I’ll take it as a bonus.

I am with you totally. I think we all could use a little CFB to get over all this other garbage going on :shakehead:

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Fulmer is dreaming. 100,000+ yelling and screaming fans packed shoulder to shoulder in Neyland as soon as September is a recipe for disaster. I miss CFB as much as anybody but it's too soon to play and certainly too soon to pack stadiums.

 

Nick Watley tested positive this weekend after playing a round at the RBC Classic at Hilton Head. This despite all the testing and precautions and the "bubble" concept of protecting players the PGA tour put in place. If it can happen in a non-contact sport like golf, imagine what the risks are for contact sports like football and basketball. CFB had basically said all programs are free to develop their own standards for testing and protecting their athletes, which is why they are all over the board. Some programs (like South Carolina for instance) are refusing to make test results public. Several SEC schools that do (or had the info leaked out) have already had positive tests. Clemson had 23 players test positive last week. What do you do, have 200 man rosters to fill in for the players who get sick?

 

Football will have to wait till 2021. Hopefully there will be a safe and effective vaccine by then, or at least some kind of treatment. I'll be shocked and disappointed if CFB tries to play it's normal schedule or any kind of schedule, with or without fans. It's too damn soon.

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7 hours ago, GiveHim6 said:

Fulmer is dreaming. 100,000+ yelling and screaming fans packed shoulder to shoulder in Neyland as soon as September is a recipe for disaster. I miss CFB as much as anybody but it's too soon to play and certainly too soon to pack stadiums.

 

Nick Watley tested positive this weekend after playing a round at the RBC Classic at Hilton Head. This despite all the testing and precautions and the "bubble" concept of protecting players the PGA tour put in place. If it can happen in a non-contact sport like golf, imagine what the risks are for contact sports like football and basketball. CFB had basically said all programs are free to develop their own standards for testing and protecting their athletes, which is why they are all over the board. Some programs (like South Carolina for instance) are refusing to make test results public. Several SEC schools that do (or had the info leaked out) have already had positive tests. Clemson had 23 players test positive last week. What do you do, have 200 man rosters to fill in for the players who get sick?

 

Football will have to wait till 2021. Hopefully there will be a safe and effective vaccine by then, or at least some kind of treatment. I'll be shocked and disappointed if CFB tries to play it's normal schedule or any kind of schedule, with or without fans. It's too damn soon.

GH6 I hate to agree but you may be right. I am thinking this will be terrible but if players keep getting infected then yeah, I could see this not happening this season. I sure hope not. Not just for the kids and and the school but money wise and frankly we need something to get behind instead all this other stuff going on. We really need sports back right now.

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