Fans at UMaine football games this fall? Almost no chance.

I like optimism. And I like optimistic people. But sometimes folks need a reality check. Right now the University of Maine is selling season ticket packages to Black Bear home football games.
That must be the very definition of “wide eyed optimist” because it would seem to me there’s at least a 95% chance fans will not be allowed to attend most, if any, of those games.

Maine‘s first home game is September 12th. I know that’s a long way off. But as we sit here in mid June, the southern part of our state is barely open for business. And here in the north, which mercifully has had a minimum number of Coronavirus cases, we are half open at best.

To think that in a little more than two months Governor Mills will allow 6000 to 8000 people to converge on Orono, mingle in a tailgate area and sit in the stands together is sheer fantasy. Or delusion.

Currently we’re allowed no more than 50 people in any kind of setting. We hope in a month or two that number grows to 100. With the tourists coming to our state we figure to have at least a marginal bump in cases. But even if stuff stays the same as it is right now, there’s still very little chance that the governor is ready to allow large groups or gatherings of any kind before the end of the year.

Colleges all across the country will have to decide if any fans will be allowed into college football games throughout the season.

According to Dr. Jon McCullers, an associate executive dean at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center’s College of Medicine and infectious disease expert, the answer is clearly no, at least at UT.

“You’re not going to have spectators in Neyland Stadium this year,” McCullers said on the show. “That’s just not going to happen.”

Veteran college sports reporter Andy Katz has a different take.

“I think we’re going to have to have masks in the stadium. I do think it will be required initially,” Katz, now with and Fox, “I think in September — unless things change, and I hope they change — I’m going to say initially, yes, it will be required for entrance all over the country. That’s just my prediction.”

I think Katz is partially correct. When we are allowed into sporting events again we will be wearing masks and sitting a decent distance from neighboring fans.

But it won’t be by September. Not in Maine. No chance.

Jeff Solari

Jeff Solari

About Jeff Solari

Jeff Solari is the president and founder of the Sports Chowdah, Maine’s only free, weekly sports e mail newsletter. Recently, the Mount Desert Island native was the co-host of "The Drive" on 92.9 FM in Bangor.