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Iowa State University backs off plan to have 25,000 fans at football opener

Iowa State University backs off plan to have 25,000 fans at football opener
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Iowa State University announced Wednesday it will play its season opener without spectators, a reversal of its earlier plan to allow 25,000 fans into Jack Trice Stadium.

"Over the weekend, [university president Wendy] Wintersteen gave our working group the approval to move forward with the plans that were jointly developed," Iowa State athletic director Jamie Pollard said in a statement released by the school, according to the Des Moines Register. "Our department announced those plans on Monday, which included allowing fans, who purchased season tickets, to attend the first game.”

"President Wintersteen shared with me on Tuesday evening that, after weighing feedback she has received from the community, she has decided to reverse the decision. As a result, we will play the season opener without fans,” Pollard added, according to the newspaper.

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The game against Louisiana is set for Sept. 12.

The initial plan to allow fans in sparked considerable pushback, coming the same day that Ames was named the country’s single worst coronavirus hot spot, according to the newspaper. The White House, meanwhile, has issued guidance to the state calling for more aggressive mitigation measures. The university will allow season ticket-holders to opt out online.

Ames was identified last week as the metro area with the highest number of new cases relative to the population. In the final two weeks of August, the city reported 964 cases, or 8.2 cases per 1,000 people. The city was also identified as the metro area with the fastest population-adjusted increase in cases, according to the Times. Over the course of a week, Ames went from 171 recorded cases to 793.

The state, meanwhile, saw its single highest number of cases in one day in August, with 2,663. Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) has ordered all bars and nightclubs closed until Sept. 20 in six of the state’s most populous counties.