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If college programs are selling tickets this fall, here's how they'll likely do it

No matter what happens from here, Michigan season ticket holders will not get the product they signed up for.

Home dates with Ball State and Arkansas State -- along with the Sept. 5 opener at Washington -- were canceled last week in the Big Ten's first major move to shield its members from the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.

But that will likely just be the beginning.

On Wednesday, Michigan formally announced to the the public that it will not play in front of a packed Big House this fall. Bold added:

The University of Michigan Athletic Department announced today (Wednesday, July 15) that if U-M is able to have a 2020 football season, the capacity of Michigan Stadium will be reduced, or games could be held without fans as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We have been working closely with a wide variety of leaders to ensure a safe and healthy environment for our student-athletes, coaches, fans and support staff associated with a game at Michigan Stadium," said Michigan AD Warde Manuel. "We will follow the direction that all of these agencies and experts continue to provide during this challenging time."

In the event Michigan hosts games this fall, the Wolverines have informed the public that:

-- Only season-ticket holders and students will be eligible to attend games.

-- No season tickets will be distributed for the 2020 season. All tickets will be sold on a game-by-game basis.

-- Fans who already paid for their 2020 season tickets will be given three options. They can leave their money with the department as a donation, forward their payment to the 2021 season, or request a refund. (Obviously, Michigan's bean counters are praying for Door No. 1 and dreading Door No. 3.)

Now, a stadium consisting of nothing but season-ticket holders and students would still hold a very large crowd -- at least in theory. Michigan reported a record 71,578 season ticket sales in 2019, plus a student population of 20,356. That would equate to a crowd of just below 92,000. The Big House's listed capacity is 107,601.

Though the athletics department hasn't gotten that far down the road yet, we can safely presume Michigan will not play in front of 92,000 fans this fall. "Details regarding a potential individual game sale will be communicated once a decision on playing with or without fans is finalized," the school said Wednesday.

Assuming Michigan plays its Big Ten schedule as originally prescribed, the Wolverines will have home dates with Wisconsin (Sept. 26), Penn State (Oct. 3), Purdue (Oct. 24), Maryland (Nov. 7) and Indiana (Nov. 21), though obviously all of that is subject to change.

As always, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.