The Latest: Vanderbilt will be without fans through October

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Vanderbilt has announced the Commodores will start the fall season in all sports without any fans at home events through October.

Athletic director Candice Lee said Friday that health and safety concerns about COVID-19 is why Vanderbilt is keeping fans away. She says this is the new normal environment where the focus is on keeping everyone healthy and as safe as possible. Playing without fans will allow officials to focus on minimizing risk to students and coaches, and Lee says that will help their ability to finish the season.

Vanderbilt hosts sixth-ranked and defending national champ LSU on Oct. 3 with South Carolina visiting Oct. 10 and Mississippi on Oct. 31. Attendance was announced at 32,048 for Vanderbilt’s game last season against LSU at the Southeastern Conference’s smallest stadium.

The university will be offering fans virtual programming that includes a virtual tailgate and live pregame show to make up for not being able to attend games.

Lee said Vanderbilt will continue consulting with Vanderbilt University Medical Center and local public health experts to decide fan attendance for events after October.

Vanderbilt is located less than five miles from Nissan Stadium where the NFL’s Tennessee Titans will host Jacksonville on Sept. 20 for their home opener with no fans in the stands. Nashville’s MLS team also is playing without fans at Nissan through September.


Duke is taking additional steps to prevent the spread of the coronavirus during fall sports. That includes daily testing of athletes, coaches and staff in football, soccer, volleyball and field hockey.

University President Vincent E. Price announced those steps Friday, with the daily testing focusing on the sports considered to be of higher transmission risk for transmission by the Atlantic Coast Conference’s medical advisory group.

The school will require athletes in those sports to sequester in designated residential areas after competitions until cleared to return to the campus community through testing and monitoring.

Price says teams will all travel by charter bus or plane and will ideally leave and return to campus on the same day.

The school had previously announced that it will begin the football and fall sports seasons with no fans at home competitions.


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