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CCU receives state approval for sports fans, including 5,000 at football games

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Trey Carter

Coastal Carolina redshirt senior offensive lineman Trey Carter prepares to hammer "the stone" at the team's practice on Sept. 3. Carter is excited the Chants will be allowed to have up to 5,000 people at home games at Brooks Stadium this season. Danny Kelly/Staff

Coastal Carolina University received approval from the South Carolina Department of Commerce on Tuesday to host spectators at fall sports home events at Brooks Stadium, the HTC Center and CCU Soccer Stadium.

The approval is in accordance with South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster’s Executive Order that outlines exceptions for large gatherings throughout the state.

According to a press release from the university’s athletic department, Brooks Stadium’s revised capacity based on CDC, accelerateSC, NCAA and Sun Belt Conference guidelines cannot exceed a total of 5,000 attendees — inclusive of teams, coaching staffs, game day staff, game day operations, working media, band, spirit teams, volunteers and spectators.

Fans will be seated in pods of two and four affiliated guests throughout the stadium with 6 feet of distancing between pods.

“Our plan is as of right now to have fans,” head football coach Jamey Chadwell said. “I don’t know exactly how that works or what that’s going to look like from that standpoint, but I do know that our administration has been working hard to have fans and have them here. Obviously next week, once we’re there in game week … I do know we’re going to plan on having fans.”

Coastal Carolina football will have its first home game of the season on Friday, Sept. 18 against Campbell at 7 p.m. on ESPN3.

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Redshirt senior defensive end Tarron Jackson is excited to be able to play in front of a crowd.

“I know a lot of teams weren’t blessed to have fans and stuff at their games, and you know, us being able to have some fans from around the area and family is going to be big," Jackson said.

Redshirt senior offensive lineman Trey Carter is grateful to have fans in the stands, even if it is a significantly reduced amount.

“That was a blessing because my parents have been worried about if they can watch me play and stuff like that,” he said. “I know the guys are excited about that, that we’re actually fortunate enough to have some fans. I mean, 5,000 is a lot better than zero, so that was definitely a good thing.”

According to the press release, parking lots will open two hours before the announced kickoff times and close one hour after the conclusion of the event. Tailgating will be allowed at the individual’s discretion. However, tents and other items that encourage large groups are prohibited. Any tailgating that does occur must be maintained within the individual parking space area and cannot be located in or around public green spaces. No tailgating will be allowed once the game starts or after the conclusion of the contest.

Fans will be asked to wear face coverings at all times with the exception of when actively eating or drinking.

The capacity for volleyball matches inside the HTC Center and soccer matches at CCU Soccer Stadium will be limited to 150 fans. Face coverings will be required for all fans and social distancing will be enforced throughout those venues.

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