As it becomes clear that a college football season will happen this fall, the problem on every AD's mind has morphed from, "Oh gosh, what if we don't have a season?" to "Oh gosh, how are we going to decide who gets tickets?"
It's a problem they should consider themselves fortunate to have considering how things looked in March, but a problem nonetheless.
If conferences and local authorities allow college football programs to hold games with socially-distant crowds, it then falls upon each AD and their staff to decide who gets in and, more importantly, who doesn't.
Iowa State released its plan on Tuesday.
"Attendance at Jack Trice Stadium would be limited to approximately 50% capacity in order to meet the current guidelines established by state and local officials. Those guidelines may be adjusted as time passes. Right now, we are planning as though the capacity of our stadium would be limited to 30,000 spectators," Iowa State AD Jamie Pollard said in a letter to the Cyclone community.
Jack Trice Stadium seats 61,500 fans and, according to our interpretation of Pollard's letter, Iowa State is planning on reserving all 30,000 seats to season ticket holders. The point of Pollard's letter was to encourage Iowa State fans to purchase the remaining 8,000 season tickets. (Bold added.)
- Any fan who does not renew their season tickets and make their Cyclone Club donation by June 12, 2020 will not be provided the opportunity to attend any games this fall unless it is later decided that we can safely exceed the 50% capacity restriction.
- The only fans who will have the opportunity to be in the stadium this fall are those who renew their season tickets and their required Cyclone Club donation (if applicable) by June 12, 2020. If you have not done so already, please contact our staff ASAP to complete those processes. +Renew Now
- Because we expect to reach the 50% capacity limitation through season ticket sales, we do not anticipate selling single-game tickets unless the capacity limits are raised.
- Any season ticket holder who does not renew their season tickets for 2020 will continue to have first rights on their same seats for 2021. We believe it is very important to honor prior loyalty, as there may be some fans who are not comfortable attending games this fall or are experiencing financial challenges.
- Any season ticket holder who renews their season tickets but later decides they are not comfortable attending games this fall because of COVID-19 may request a refund of their season ticket purchase or defer the purchase of their season ticket to the 2021 season.
In talking with a source, students would be included in Iowa State's count of season-ticket holders. How many students would get in (Iowa State had more than 33,000 total students in the fall of 2019) and how many of those 30,000 seats would go to traditional season-ticket holders remains to be seen. As does whether the band would be included in that count of 30,000, or whether recruits will be permitted to attend.
Basically,the one message Pollard wanted to communicate was that single-game tickets will not be on sale for the fall.
The specifics remain extremely fluid as we sit here on May 26, but the fact that we're even having this conversation should be cause for celebration.