Panthers, Steelers won’t have fans at September home games

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TPN file photo

The Panthers say they are working on attendance plans, and will announce them “very soon.”

By Alex Lehmbeck, Sports Editor

When Pitt football takes the field for their season opener against Austin Peay, not a single fan will sit in the stands. Pitt, along with the Pittsburgh Steelers, announced Thursday that fans will not be permitted to attend football games in September.

“Although we are disappointed for our loyal and passionate fans, the Panther Pitt student section and especially our student-athletes’ families and friends,” Pitt Athletic Director Heather Lyke said, “the University of Pittsburgh respects and understands the guidelines set forth by state and county health officials.”

The announcement comes just a few days after Pitt found a non-conference opponent to start their season against on Sept. 12. Pitt scheduled three home games in September, meaning the team will not play in front of fans at all that month. Pitt’s first road matchup comes against Boston College on Oct. 10, who will also not allow fans for September home games.

With Pitt’s first three home opponents — Austin Peay, Syracuse and Louisville — out of the question, Pitt only has three games at Heinz Field left with the potential for fan attendance: NC State on Oct. 3, Notre Dame on Oct. 24 and Virginia Tech on Nov. 21. 

Aside from Boston College, all of Pitt’s road opponents — Miami, Florida State, Georgia Tech and Clemson — have announced plans for upwards of 10,000 fans to attend home games this season.

Panther season ticket holders now have three options for their payments — “re-invest” as a donation to the Panther Club, rollover to the 2021 season or request a refund.

Lyke said Pitt has not ruled out the possibility of fans attending October or November games.

“We will remain in communication with the appropriate agencies and continue to explore possible fan attendance — in each of our fall sports’ home venues — for contests beyond September,” Lyke said.

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