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Mitch Barnhart gives update on UK Athletics crowds for upcoming seasons

Kroger Field and Rupp Arena likely won’t be full any time soon.

Georgia vs. UK Mark Cornelison/Lexington Herald-Leader/MCT via Getty Images

There is plenty of uncertainty facing the future of college sports amid the COVID-19 pandemic and one of the biggest questions will be is if there are college sports, will people be in the stands?

Thursday, University of Kentucky Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart spoke during a the Lexington Rotary Club’s Zoom meeting and spoke about what crowd capacity may look like at Kroger Field this fall if the college football season takes place.

“In terms of capacity, I think a lot of that’s going to come out of Frankfort,” Barnhart said. “We’re watching the Kentucky Derby very closely to see how the Derby is managed. That comes up on Sept. 5. Others states, you’ve heard 50%, you’ve heard different numbers and social distancing.”

Barnhart did make clear that there will not be a full capacity of 61,000 fans inside Kroger Field this fall.

“I don’t know how we’ll ever be at 100% capacity or what we’ll call that,” Barnhart said. “We’ll have to figure something up. I would love to have fans in the stands. I don’t know where I fall on percentages, but I want as many people in there watching the Cats as we can get in there. So we’ll leave it at that. We’ve gotta step through football first before we figure out basketball. One step at a time.”

With no vaccine and the coronavirus still spreading rapidly, this comes as no surprise as it’d be simply unsafe to have 61,000 fans in a confined space.

It is, however, encouraging news having fans this fall is still even a possibility given all the negative COVID-19 headlines in the state of Kentucky in recent weeks.

For more from Barnhart, read Josh Moore’s story in the Lexington Herald-Leader.