DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – SMU played its first home game on Saturday since the COVID-19 pandemic began, beating Stephen F. Austin.
Even at 25% capacity, Ford Stadium buzzed with school spirit.
But eliminating COVID-19 remains the bigger challenge, which is why fans over the age of 3 were required to wear a face covering. Many did not.
“I kept it on,” said freshman Max Brandt. “It was like 50/50 of people who did. There were places where you could sit and couldn’t sit. They were all like 10 feet apart.”
But some fans crowded together, mask-free – and not just while eating or drinking.
SMU asks fans to sign a “good teammate pledge,” which includes social distancing and wearing a facial covering, though it’s not contractually binding. The university said most students have also signed a “pledge to protect,” promising to limit risky behavior.
“I don’t have any complaints. I feel safe,” said Brandt.
Some of the 1,000 students who attended the game said masks or not, they weren’t bothered.
“I totally don’t care. People can do whatever they want,” said freshman Julia Young. “It’s a personal thing for me. I’m just going to wear it because it feels right for me, but if they don’t want to, I don’t care.”
In a statement, SMU said, “If you watched the game, you could see that the majority of fans in the stadium behaved responsibility and were well-distanced and masked. We will be working to correct the behavior of a small subsection of student fans who did not follow our pledge to protect.”
They also said future student violators could face disciplinary action or lose their game attendance privileges. Other students said – it’s not worth it.
“I would just have them wear the mask. It’s annoying, but I think everyone has to do it for now,” Brandt said.
An SMU spokesperson also said they will increase security and monitoring in the student section going forward and will add more questions in their contract tracing interview process.
SMU is currently at a moderate operational level, based on its COVID numbers. It currently has 109 active student cases. That’s down about 35 percent from the end of last month.