Football season is one of the most exciting times of the year. Tailgates, games and parties are all seasonal enjoyment for football fans. This year, however, fans are facing a difficult decision: should they attend a football game during a pandemic?

As football season creeped closer during the summer, the big question on every sports fan’s mind was: is there going to be a football season this year? For fans of teams in the Pac-12 conference, the answer was a sad “no,” as the conferences decided to push back their fall season. For fans of teams in the Southeastern Conference (SEC), the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) and the Big 12 Conference, the answer was an exciting “yes!” In the Big-10 conference, the original decision was to postpone the season, but it was changed with their season now starting October 24. It is up to those colleges, however, to dictate whether fans are allowed to attend the football games. Many colleges are letting fans into the stadium under a certain set of rules and policies, each depending on the school. With Covid-19 cases still on the rise, fans should not be allowed to attend football games because of the danger it poses to people’s health and lives.

One reason fans should not be permitted to go to football games is the likelihood of drinking alcohol. Many fans bring their own beverages to enjoy during gatherings before and after games. Just because some schools are prohibiting tailgates, however, does not mean that there will be less alcohol consumption at football games. This threatens the safety of fans attending games during the pandemic, as alcohol interferes with brain activity and clear thinking. Without the ability to make rational thoughts, many fans can lower their guard and make poor sanitary decisions that lead to infection. Banning alcohol at games will not be able to fix this, as fans could get intoxicated before arriving at the stadium. 

A lack of enforcing Covid-19 policy rules should also raise red flags for those wishing to attend games. Large stadiums have the ability to hold a lot of fans, with Doak Campbell Stadium being able to hold up to 79,560. Even with the reduced number of up to 19,890 fans being able to attend in the 2020 season, that is still a large number of people police would have to check for breaches in mask and social distancing policy. This is a near impossible task. Without proper policing numbers, there is no realistic way officials can make sure fans are following the rules. 

The opening game for the Florida State 2020-21 football season on September 12 was a prime example of how fans can and will ignore policies without proper policing. Even with 853 students and staff testing positive for Covid-19 before Saturday, the university continued on with their opening game. Now, with the number of Covid-19 cases for FSU students and staff having increased up to 1,400, the university is receiving a lot of criticism for allowing fans to not wear masks or social distance. 

TikTok user jojo1717_ posted a video on the app of her at the FSU football game. In the clip, she shows many fans ignoring mask policy and not participating in social distancing, while additionally pointing out the hypocrisy of FSU’s cancellation of its 2020 graduation last May. It can also be seen in the video that there is a lack of authority enforcing Covid-19 policies. The video has gained 689,300 views and over 113,000 likes, with many comments condemning FSU’s decision to continue with football and letting fans attend the game. 

It should be acknowledged that colleges may experience a decrease in profits because of limited attendance. Football is more than entertainment. It provides jobs and profits for schools, and allows other, less attended sports events to happen. This is a valid argument, and it can be argued that there is a safe way for fans to attend football games. Major Florida theme parks such as Disney World and Universal have reported that there have been no COVID cases linked back to them. This shows that gatherings can still happen safely but only when proper procedures are followed. These theme parks have been extreme in their enforcement of Covid-19 safety, from social distancing markers in lines to employees constantly looking out for people breaking mask policy. This caliber of reinforcing rules cannot be seen at football games, thus the risk to get Covid-19 is much higher. 

But while football games are an exceptionally fun experience, fans should not even be allowed to take the risk of becoming infected or infecting others by attending. In today’s world of technology, there are many ways for fans to stream games, whether it be on cable TV or through a sports streaming service. Payment should not be a problem, as it likely costs just as much money to stream the game than to buy a ticket. Football games may be fun, but they are never worth endangering someone’s life.