North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper announced that, starting Friday, large outdoor sports venues across the state could start allowing in fans at up to 7% of stadium capacity.
Wake Forest and the Carolina Panthers, who both host home games this weekend, have begun selling and/or distributing tickets. But Duke, which hosts Virginia Tech at Wallace Wade Stadium on Saturday, is choosing not to take advantage of the relaxation of the state policy and will not allow fans in.
A spokesman for the football program confirmed the news, saying, “Correct. Duke is not allowing 7% on Saturday.”
With a capacity of approximately 40,000, Duke could allow up to 2,800 people in to watch the game. The people most impacted by Duke’s decision not to allow spectators are families of the players on the team. Duke family members have been able to attend Blue Devil road games at Notre Dame and Virginia this season, but for the second straight game, they won’t be allowed in at home.
Some family members have taken to social media to protest the decision.
“(Duke Football) is unwavering in allowing even ‘just’ families to attend games,” tweeted an account identifying itself as Meagan Gray, mother of Blue Devils tight end Noah. “Parents, grandparents, foster parents, brothers and sisters who have all been part of the process aren’t allowed in Wallace Wade. I suggest we take our ‘home’ games on the road.”
Gray later added that it was university policy, and not the football program, behind the decision, tweeting, “I know the actual staff wants nothing more than OUR families to be able to attend.”
An account belonging to Maria DalMolin, whose son Nicky is a freshman on the team, said, “We have experienced that it CAN be done safely (ND, UVA) and according to state guidelines. The continual resistance to transitioning back to anything that even resembles normalcy is beyond belief.”
Defensive end Drew Jordan responded, tweeting, “Completely unfair to us as players that they won’t even allow our families into the games when all the other schools around us allow it. The circumstances we play in are not the most desirable and it would mean the world if our parents could watch us play.”