CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - After uncertainty over if fans would be allowed at games this season, students at Coastal Carolina are ready for the Chanticleer’s home opener.
“I think it’s gonna get rowdy tonight even though it’s not full capacity. We’re electric right now. We just beat Kansas. We’re feeling good," freshman Heath Erdos said ahead of Friday’s game.
And students weren’t the only ones feeling the pre-game day electricity.
“There was a little bit of a buzz and excitement this week with our staff," CCU Athletic Director Matt Houge said.
But changes are in place due to COVID-19. The S.C. Department of Commerce approved the school’s plan to allow up to 5,000 people inside Brooks Stadium on Friday, including teams, coaches, media and game day staff.
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For fans, tailgating will be limited and masks are required. University leaders said social distancing will be enforced inside the stadium and fans can only sit in small groups.
Still, even with these changes, Erdos said getting to go to his first football game as a college student in-person makes going to school right now feel a little bit more normal.
“A lot of my friends who go to school up north their schools are on lockdowns, they can’t go out,” he said.
Hogue said fans should be excited about this season, but dedication to the season isn’t all left up to the players.
“It’s a team effort you know, we expect our team to play with discipline and execute their game plan and we want our fans and our supporters to do the same thing," he said.
And even with other conferences canceling games or going without fans, Hogue said they’re preparing for anything to happen.
“I think everything’s a possibility, whether it’s teams on the field, whether it’s what your game day experience is, you know things are certainly subject to change. We understand that and we see that around the country and that’s what we’re trying to prepare against," Hogue said.