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Watch Now: Big 12 moving forward with fall season; OU to play in front of 25% capacity; no tailgating at OSU home games
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Watch Now: Big 12 moving forward with fall season; OU to play in front of 25% capacity; no tailgating at OSU home games

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Oklahoma Sooners vs West Virginia Mountaineers

Fans fill Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman on Oct. 19 for the Oklahoma-West Virginia game. Like all conferences, the Big 12 is trying to figure out how college football can return this fall, with COVID-19 a major issue. IAN MAULE/Tulsa World file

Wednesday was a busy day for the college football world, as the Big 12 Conference announced its decision to continue forward with fall sports in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Big 12 released its new conference football schedule despite the Big Ten and Pac-12 conferences deciding to postpone their seasons Tuesday.

The new date for the annual Bedlam meeting between Oklahoma and Oklahoma State is Nov. 21. But if there is a game, OU’s Memorial Stadium, with a capacity of 80,126 fans, will only be 25% full.

The Sooners announced Wednesday the allowed capacity for the school’s home games this year will be roughly 20,000 fans.

The Big 12 will play a 10-game football season with one nonconference game. OSU and OU will play their nonconference games Sept. 12 and begin the conference schedule Sept. 26.

The American Athletic Conference, of which the University of Tulsa is a member, also plans to continue with a fall season. The Hurricane travels to Stillwater to open the season against Oklahoma State on Sept. 12. Only one of Tulsa’s 12 original games has been canceled.

The Big 12 presidents and chancellors voted to continue with a fall season after hearing information from a Big 12 medical group.

“It’s an ever-evolving environment and we will find ourselves with bumpy spots during the fall,” Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said during a conference call with media. “There isn’t any doubt about that. But I think we’re well-prepared to deal with those things, and so I feel good about the decision going forward. I believe our board feels good about it, and I think most importantly we have some clarity for our coaches and our student-athletes.”

The Big 12 Conference will also require its athletes to be tested for COVID-19 three times per week for “high contact” sports such as football, volleyball and soccer. There will also be specific protocols for athletes who test positive before they are allowed to return to play.

“Any (player) who tests positive (for COVID-19) before they go back to any form of activity is going to have to have a cardiac MRI, an EKG, an echocardiogram and a troponin (blood) test,” Bowlsby said.

For OSU games this season at Boone Pickens Stadium, the school announced Wednesday there will be no tailgating. Fans also will be required to wear masks.

Both OU and OSU are encouraging digital ticketing. OU will release a new app in the coming days that will include digital ticketing and parking assistance.


2020 Big 12 Football Media Preseason Poll

Frank Bonner II

918-581-8387

frank.bonner@tulsaworld.com

Twitter: Frank_Bonner2

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