Texas A&M officials are planning for a full Kyle Field for the 2021 football season, athletics director Ross Bjork said Tuesday on his monthly Facebook Live town hall meeting.
“Our approach as we sit here today on February the 23rd is that we will operate at full capacity, that we’ll have full stadiums,” he said. “We’ll have the full experience. We’ll have the Aggie band back on the field. We’ll do all the things that we normally do.”
A&M capped crowds at Kyle Field last fall to 25% of its full operating capacity, set at approximately 110,000, due to COVID-19. A&M led the nation in average attendance for the 2020 season at 24,876 per game.
Four of the top five highest attended college football games last season were Aggie home games, led by the 27,114 fans at the Halloween night matchup against Arkansas. The crowds at A&M’s home games against Florida, Vanderbilt and LSU also ranked in the top five. The Red River Rivalry game between Texas and Oklahoma at Dallas’ Cotton Bowl ranked fourth at 24,000.
Over the summer, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott mandated all professional and college sporting events operate at 50% capacity, though all venues in the state operated at less.
A&M required fans to wear face coverings at Kyle Field during the 2020 season, which Bjork said might be required again in 2021 depending on the progress of current vaccination efforts.
“There may be protocols,” he said. “We may be wearing face coverings. We don’t know all those answers yet. That’s the plan as we sit here today: full stadium, full season-ticket allotment, 12th Man student section full. People are going to be vaccinated at a really, really high level. That’s all the projections, right? The whole herd immunity, all those things, we should just be in a much better place.”
A&M sent out season-ticket renewals on Feb. 2 based on 2019’s season-ticket holders, Bjork said, adding that he and his staff will be prepared for any scenario concerning the virus this fall.
“If we have to pivot, we know we can,” Bjork said. “The virus will dictate.”
Over the last month, COVID-19 active cases have steadily declined in the Brazos County.
There were 552 on Tuesday, which was 19 more than Monday. Thirty-five Brazos County residents were hospitalized, with hospital capacity at 89% and intensive care units at 117% occupancy, according to the Brazos County Health District.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, 208 Brazos County residents have died after testing positive for COVID-19, according to health department figures.
The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) reported Tuesday afternoon that 19,768 Brazos County residents have received at least one vaccine dose, and 7,777 residents have been fully vaccinated. The Brazos County vaccine hub is administering approximately 7,000 first doses of the Moderna vaccine this week.
DSHS officials also said Tuesday that 3,146,940 people have received one vaccine dose statewide, and 1,422,169 Texans have been fully vaccinated.
The Eagle’s Kenny Wiley contributed to this report.