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ISU to host limited fan attendance at upcoming spring football games

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Photo courtesy Idaho State University

POCATELLO — Football fans will have a limited opportunity to see the Bengals in person when the spring football season kicks off later this month.

About 2,800 fans will be allowed to attend home games at Holt Arena, Idaho State University announced Wednesday. The school said it had worked closely with Southeastern Idaho Public Health Department to make the decision.

The caveat is that seating will be limited to a student section, Bengal Athletic Boosters (BAB) priority and corporate sponsor seating, and player pass lists.

“Certainly, we’re happy about it,” ISU Athletic Director Pauline Thiros said in a recent news conference. “We’ve been thinking about the different ways to get this accomplished.”

Tickets will be sold as a three-game season set only — no individual game seats are available at this time — costing $75 for the set. Should a game be canceled due to COVID-19 concerns, or if fan attendance is barred for any reason, tickets will be refunded at the face value of $25 per game, per seat.

Some predictions before the announcement had sporting events allowing attendance at a 40% max once ticket sales were announced. Since Holt Arena holds 12,000-plus at maximum capacity, the 2,800 mark is well below predictions.

The 40% mark was never something considered by ISU and the health district. Instead, members of the ISU Athletics Department were out measuring Holt Arena for exact schematics, Thiros said, trying to design a plan that allowed for groups of three or four to maintain the 6-foot distancing requirement.

“The health and safety of the public and the health and safety of the student athletes has been first and continues to be first,” Thiros said. “And revenue is a secondary consideration to that, at this point.”

Officials had to consider requirements and guidelines, not just from the state, county and city, but from the National Collegiate Athletic Association, Big Sky Conference and the university itself. They gathered ideas during meetings with other schools within the conference.

The plan includes free parking, 300 seats dedicated to students, an additional allotment of seats reserved for family of the players and coaches and the remainder going to corporate sponsors and program boosters. Seats will be designated for each ticket.

Head coach Rob Phenicie, Thiros added, is happy to play in front of whatever fans will be in attendance.

“He’s very excited to have fans, as is our coaching staff and all of our student athletes. They certainly are motivated to play and compete on their own (behalf), but they love our Bengal fans and really wanted to be able to share their season with them,” Thiros said.

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