South Florida will not allow any fans in the stands for its Sept. 12 football home opener against The Citadel, USF announced Thursday.
"In the interest of providing the safest and best experience for our fans, we have made the decision to not have fans at the first home game on Sept. 12," USF vice president of athletics Michael Kelly said in a statement.
Kelly said USF does plan to welcome fans for its four other home games — against East Carolina, Tulsa, Navy and Central Florida — "if state and local officials deem it appropriate for us to do so at that time." The Bulls' Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, seats 65,500.
Kelly noted that all USF home football games will be broadcast as part of a new American Athletic Conference rights agreement with ESPN.
The Bulldogs also play at Clemson on Sept. 19. Clemson announced Thursday that it plans to allow about 19,000 fans into 81,500-seat Memorial Stadium for home games this season.
The Citadel plays at home against Eastern Kentucky on Sept. 26, and at Army on Oct. 10.
Neither The Citadel nor Army have announced policies for attendance during the coronavirus pandemic.
"We have been working models for 100%, 45% and 35% capacity options at Michie Stadium for our home games and will adopt the safest model on a week to week basis as we continue to monitor best practices for risk mitigation," Army West Point athletic director Mike Buddie said last month.
Citadel Athletic director Mike Capaccio said this week that his school is likely to go with 20 to 25 percent capacity at 11,500-seat Johnson Hagood Stadium, which would be about 2,300 to about 2,900 fans.