Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to colleges: Don't expect football stadiums past 50 percent capacity

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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott warned colleges in his state not to expect stadium capacity to exceed 50 percent when football season begins this autumn, per a report by USA Today Sports’ Dan Wolken.

Abbott approved an order in late May that allow sports facilities to operate at 25 percent capacity this summer amid the COVID-19 pandemic. That would allow the Dallas Cowboys, Houston Texans and Texas Rangers to have fans. At the same time, he was optimistic college football would take place as scheduled in the fall and that fans would be able to attend.

A week later he doubled the stadium capacity number to 50 percent and included the indoor Dallas Mavericks to the group. Such a quick increase led to vast optimism that by the time college football came around in August and September, capacity limits would rise closer to full. Texas athletic director Chris Del Conte has maintained that he plans on having Royal-Memorial Stadium full for the season.

That won’t be the case, Abbott told the 12 Football Bowl Subdivision athletic directors on a Zoom call Friday. Via USA Today Sports:

But Abbott's message to the athletics directors was clear, according to the person with knowledge of the call: It would take either a vaccine or a drastic drop in cases for capacity to increase beyond 50 percent and that schools should not count on either development by the time the football season starts.

The state of Texas is experiencing a spike in COVID-19 cases and hit an all-time high for new coronavirus cases in a single day this week. Experts say they see evidence of a second wave in the state.

The city of Houston has become a hot spot and Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said this week the area could be on the “precipice of disaster” if the numbers continue to rise. The University of Houston suspended on-campus workouts for athletes on Friday after six tested positive for the coronavirus.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott watches from the sidelines during the second half of the Big 12 Conference championship NCAA college football game between Oklahoma and Texas on Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Jeffrey McWhorter)
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott told colleges not to expect stadiums more than half capacity this fall, per a report. (AP Photo/Jeffrey McWhorter)

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