LAWRENCE — Homecoming will take on new meaning for Kansas football this season.
The Jayhawks announced Friday that they will allow up to 10,000 fans to attend their next home contest, a matchup with Oklahoma State scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Oct. 3. Concerns over the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic led KU to play its season opener, a 38-23 defeat to Coastal Carolina on Sept. 12, inside an empty David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium.
The permitted attendance represents 21.2% of the stadium’s listed capacity of 47,233.
In a letter addressed to university employees, chancellor Doug Girod noted the situation is "fluid" and "can change at any time," including before the homecoming contest versus the Cowboys.
"Certainly it is our hope to continue hosting fans throughout the fall, but these decisions will be made in an ongoing way based on the latest information," Girod wrote, "and always at the guidance of the Pandemic Medical Advisory Team."
Attendees will be required to wear masks, a protocol Girod said will be "strictly enforced." Additionally, all stadium seating will be reserved to ensure social distancing, elevator capacity will be reduced to five individuals at a time and stadium entry will take place through contact-less metal detectors.
Tailgating will not be permitted, and local law enforcement will "monitor neighborhoods surrounding the stadium," Girod wrote.
Girod cited "stable" regional COVID-19 rates as a key factor in the university’s decision.
"Additionally, the opportunity to compete in front of fans is important to our student-athletes, who have demonstrated tremendous resilience amid all this uncertainty," Girod wrote. "I know I can count on you to support these remarkable young women and men throughout the year."
KU has also adjusted fan capacity for its upcoming soccer (400 at Rock Chalk Park Soccer Stadium) and volleyball (250 at Horejsi Family Volleyball Arena) home contests.
"It’s been a while since we have done this, and circumstances are much different, so we will need everyone’s help to make this possible for the duration of football season and the upcoming basketball season," wrote KU athletic director Jeff Long. "If we all — fans, staff and student-athletes — adhere to the policies and protocols implemented, we can look forward to the opportunity to continue having fans in the weeks and months ahead."