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ISU reverses course: no fans for season opener

AMES — Two days after announcing its football season opener would be played in front of an estimated 25,000 fans, Iowa State reversed course on Wednesday.

ISU Athletic Director Jamie Pollard now says the Sept. 12 game against Louisiana will be played without fans in the stands.

“Our department staff and I have worked very closely with (ISU president) Dr. (Wendy) Wintersteen and her leadership team throughout the summer as we jointly developed plans for this fall’s football season,” Pollard said in a press release. “Over the weekend, Dr. Wintersteen gave our working group the approval to move forward with the plans that were jointly developed. President Wintersteen shared with me on Tuesday evening that, after weighing feedback she has received from the community, she has decided to reverse the decision. As a result, we will play the season opener without fans.”

A recent surge in COVID-19 cases in Iowa, particularly in Ames and Story County, have put the state in the national spotlight. On Monday, The New York Times had Ames on the top of its biggest “hot spot” metro areas in the country for coronavirus positivity rates.

Iowa State is hopeful that fans will be allowed to attend future home games this fall.

Iowa State and Louisiana will kickoff at 11 a.m. on Sept. 12. The game will be televised nationally by ESPN.

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