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CSU's Joe Parker says season ticket holders are 'first priority' if fans limited for CU football game

The Rams athletic director also said he's "optimistic" about fall sports and addressed safety measures the department is taking to keep student-athletes safe.
Credit: AP Photo/David Zalubowski
Colorado State Rams athletic director Joe Parker in the first quarter of an NCAA college football game Friday, Aug. 30, 2019, in Denver.

FORT COLLINS, Colo. — CSU and CU should battle for football supremacy on September 5 at Canvas Stadium in Fort Collins. 

The question remains, though, how many people are going to be able to watch the game in person? 

In a conference call with local media on Wednesday afternoon, Colorado State Athletic Director Joe Parker addressed that and several other questions surrounding the state of his department as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. 

"Obviously for the financial piece the ability to open that game with near capacity or capacity crowd would be very helpful," Parker said of the looming battle with the Buffs. "That certainly is our aspiration, but we'll be told by public health authorities what to plan for. We haven't played CU here in Fort Collins since 1996, so the first priority is going to be those people that have secured season tickets if we have to do any physical distancing."

Parked added the University is working on potential plans that would have the stadium at 100%, 50% or 25% capacity. 

In terms of fall sports happening, Parker feels things are looking up. 

"Right now, I'm very optimistic. Things here in Northern Colorado have been very positive and favorable relative to some other markets. We've always put the health and well being of our student-athletes first and foremost so we've been really careful and collaborative with all the public health authorities. We're encouraged by the first steps we've taken," Parker said. 

He went on to add for at least the next 30 days student-athletes won't have access to indoor areas such as meeting rooms, locker room or weight rooms. The only interior space available is the sports medicine department and that's by appointment.

"We're conducting all of our voluntary conditioning and strength workouts in an outdoor environment, so the students are coming to Canvas Stadium in groups of less than 10 and spacing out on the field," Parker said. "Once they've finished the conditioning portion they take a pre-designated path to the concourse level of the stadium where we have lifting stations spaced out. It's covered, but open-air. After each use all the equipment is cleaned before the next use. It's been very well thought out, very well orchestrated." 

Parker said COVID-19 testing will remain a priority with each test costing more than $80 right now. He expects the school to spend "six-figures" for testing throughout the 2020-2021 athletic seasons. 

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