CLEMSON — Clemson will permit 19,000 fans into Death Valley for football games this fall, the school announced Thursday night.
Tigers fans are asked to refrain from tailgating during the season, a team spokesperson said in a press release. Tents, trailers and large groups are prohibited in parking lots.
South Carolina will allow approximately 20,000 fans into Williams-Brice Stadium. The NBA, MLB, WNBA, NHL and NWSL have not permitted spectators at games this summer.
"We are thankful for the careful review and approval from Governor McMaster, the South Carolina Department of Commerce and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control for our plan to host fans in our venues this fall,” Clemson athletic director Dan Radakovich said in the release. “Our IPTAY and athletic staff have worked tirelessly and taken a comprehensive look at the gameday experience.”
Death Valley's regular capacity is 81,500 and last season coach Dabo Swinney's team averaged 80,868 fans during a home slate full of mostly blowout victories.
Fans will be seated in pods of two or four affiliates guests, with six feet between pods. Face coverings are required for spectators at all times except when eating or drinking. Each fan will have a designated gate of entry, and stadium re-entry is not permitted. Ticketing is all mobile for the 2020 season.
The game day experience will be without some of the normal pomp. The pregame Tigers Band parade and the Tiger Walk will not happen, nor will the postgame Gathering at the Paw, during which fans join players and coaches on the field to sing the alma mater.
Fans are also asked to wear face coverings and maintain social distancing while in parking lots, which will open three hours prior to games and close 60 minutes afterwards. Parking assignments will be based on seating location to minimize contact.
The announcement that fans will be allowed at games was met with excitement by players, sophomore defensive back Andrew Booth Jr. said.
"We all thought it was going to be just us out there just talking to each other," he said. "To be able to have just those amount of people, that's a huge blessing."
Clemson will also be permitting a limited number of fans into volleyball and soccer matches. Jervey Gym's capacity will be 250 for volleyball, and Riggs Field will host up to about 1,000 fans for soccer.
The selected seating configuration provides the opportunity for social distancing in the stands the ability to include as many iPTAY donors and students as possible, the spokersperson wrote in the release.
The Tigers open the season Sept. 12 at Wake Forest before hosting The Citadel on Sept. 12. Kickoff time has yet to be announced.
“Clemson sought input from external medical, public health and facility planning experts during the process, as well as the University Strategic Operations Group," Radakovich said in the release. "With the information available today, we are confident in our ability to safely allow fans at games, which is incredibly important to our student-athletes, coaches, fans and local community. We’ll continue to monitor guidance and make adjustments if necessary.”