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Saturday, February 27, 2021

Gators spring football game to have no fans in attendance

UF Athletic Director Scott Stricklin made the announcement Tuesday

<p dir="ltr"><span>Tight end Kyle Pitts recorded four catches for 56 yards for the Blue team in UF's Orange and Blue game. Blue was defeated by Orange 60-35 in the highest-scoring spring game of all time.</span></p><p><span> </span></p>

Tight end Kyle Pitts recorded four catches for 56 yards for the Blue team in UF's Orange and Blue game. Blue was defeated by Orange 60-35 in the highest-scoring spring game of all time.

 

More than 80,000 seats at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium will be empty during the Orange and Blue game for the first time. 

The spring scrimmage is meant to simulate a regular-season matchup and let most players on the roster showcase their talents.

Athletic director Scott Stricklin said hosting fans for the annual scrimmage seems “unwise given all circumstances,” in a press release Tuesday. 

When the clocks hit zero for the Gators’ football season,  the stadium soon became a COVID-19 testing site. Residents and students fill the halls of the stadium in long lines to send off their tests. To Stricklin, this makes the area unsafe for fans.

In the fall 2020 season, the stadium’s capacity was reduced to a quarter due to the SEC’s pandemic attendance restrictions. It’s still unknown if a “no fans” policy will spill over to the regular season. Other programs, such as basketball and baseball, continue their limited attendance policies.

The Gators will begin their four-week slate of spring practices on Feb. 16 before playing in the intra-squad scrimmage. Stricklin said he hopes to keep fans engaged using social media. Practices will be streamed on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Contact Jesse Richardson at jrichardson@alligator.org and follow him on Twitter at @JesseRich352

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