Texas A&M head football coach Jimbo Fisher said he believes Kyle Field could be up to 75% capacity this season in a video produced by the Texas A&M System.
“I’m very encouraged, because our governor’s opened up outside sports to 50%,” Fisher said. “I think by [September] and as much as we know about the virus and the different things that are going on, I expect it’s going to be pretty close to normal. It may not be completely normal. I think we’ll have masks and I think there’ll be social distancing, but I think it will be with groups of people and I would expect that maybe 75% or more would be in the stands by the end.”
Fisher, quarterback Kellen Mond, athletic director Ross Bjork, director of sports medicine J.P. Bramhall and director of counseling and sports psychology Ryan Pittsinger met with Chancellor John Sharp and members of the 12th Man Productions team to talk about how COVID-19 has affected the athletic department. Each week, Sharp has produced a video highlighting a different area of the A&M System that is dealing with the spread and fight of COVID-19.
Mond said in the video that he feels safe with the precautions taken by the athletic department to curtail the spread of the virus.
“I think the NCAA, SEC and everybody who is making these limitations and regulations are going to do a really good job in making sure that we’re able to [do] as much as we can but try to stay as safe as possible,” Mond said. “I feel like that’s why some of the stuff hasn’t been approved on when we’ll actually be back, but now with voluntary workouts I feel like we can take it one step at a time.”
A&M’s student-athletes currently have access to weight rooms and certain outdoor athletic facilities for voluntary workouts. The scope of facilities available to student-athletes will be reassessed on Monday, according to a memo sent out by the athletic department.
Bjork told Sharp in the video that A&M has had approximately five student-athletes test positive for COVID-19, all of whom were asymptomatic.
Should an athlete test positive for COVID-19, they will be isolated for 14 days. If the student-athlete has a roommate, the roommate will be provided alternate living situations for the duration of the quarantine, and contact tracing is done to identify those whom the infected athlete has been in close contact with. Food will be delivered to the apartment for the quarantined individual, provided by the nutrition department.
“It’s a very robust plan, but it also follows the Brazos County Health Department,” Bjork said in the video. “It follows [Center for Disease Control] guidelines and we’re implementing those best practices.”
When athletes arrived back on campus at the beginning of June, a laboratory in Dallas brought a testing unit to perform the athletic department’s testing, Bjork said. The A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Lab in College Station has also been utilized to process COVID-19 testing for the athletic department as well as Brazos County, Sharp said.
Bjork said he hopes these precautions, as well as those put in place at the state and local levels, will help bring sports and sports fans back to Aggieland when A&M soccer kicks off the fall athletic season Aug. 7.
“We want fans there,” Bjork said in the video. “We want them to be safe. We want our student-athletes to be safe, but that’s less than two months away, and so we need to be ready. We will be ready.”