Social Distancing With Reality – Florida Coach Pleas to Allow 90,000 Fans in Stadium Sat

FILE - This is a Sept. 17, 2011, file photo showing fans watching an NCAA college football game between Tennessee and Florida in Gainesville, Fla. Florida (6-2, 4-2 Southeastern Conference) begins a three-game homestand Saturday against Missouri (4-4, 0-4). The Gators also host South Carolina and Idaho over the first three weekends of November. The late-season stretch will go a long way toward determining which bowl game Mullen’s team lands. It also will establish how many “stadiums” players will have to run after the season.(AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack, File)

Hearing the phrase “Pack the swamp” in the current political environment might lead you to believe this is yet another political story dealing with unscrupulous politicians. It’s not. Well, they may still step in and hijack the story later in the week, but this particular swamp is in reference to the University of Florida Gators stadium and the fans that the team is hoping will turn out for next week’s game against defending national champion Louisiana State.

The fourth-ranked Gators lost to Texas A&M on Saturday. Following the loss, Florida head coach Dan Mullen said the A&M crowd was a “major factor.” The attendance at Kyle Field on Saturday was listed at just 24,709, a fraction of the capacity of the stadium, which is over 102,000.

Mullen pleaded for officials to allow full attendance for their game next Saturday in Gainesville. He wants every seat full of screaming Gator fans. What about social distancing, you ask? Well, it’s not real high on Mullen’s game plan, as he would prefer “we have 90,000 in The Swamp to give us that home-field advantage that Texas A&M had today,” he said.

The decision now rests with the University of Florida. Governor Ron DeSantis recently lifted COVID-19 restrictions, which allows stadiums across the state to operate at full capacity if they choose to. Mullen wants his administration to go all in. “I know our governor passed that rule, so certainly, hopefully, the university administration decides to let us pack The Swamp for LSU next week,” he said. “One hundred percent, because that crowd was a major factor in the [Texas A&M] game. So, I certainly hope our university administration follows the governor.”

Florida athletic director Scott Stricklin was asked by ESPN if he would allow a full house. He said, “We continue to follow University of Florida Health and campus safety guidelines.”

Translation: “Not gonna happen, coach.”

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