EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – When Mel Tucker was hired as the Michigan State football coach, back on Feb. 12, 2020, not many could have imagined the past year he’s had to face as the Spartans’ coach.
The COVID-19 pandemic put a halt on Tucker building the type of program he envisions at Michigan State. Last year, MSU didn’t to have a spring practice, due to COVID-19, meaning their was no annually spring game.
A year later, times have changed, sort of, and Michigan State is getting ready for it first spring game since 2019. It’ll also be the first time MSU will have fans, outside of family members, in the stands since 2019.
The university announced last week that 6,000 fans will be allowed to attend this year’s spring game. Making it the first time since Mel Tucker took over the MSU football program that fans, outside of family members, will be allowed to see him coach the Spartans in person.
“Whether you’re going to be one of the 6,000 in attendance, or watching or listening at home, there’s a buzz building around Spartan Football and this is a chance for people to, kind of, get a glimpse behind the curtain of what a Mel Tucker practice looks like,” MSU Associate Athletic Director, Matt Larson said.
Saturday’s spring game will be broadcasted on Big Ten Network at 2 p.m.
Those that’ll get to see the Spartans in person, will have to follow a number of protocols upon arrival.
All fans will receive digital tickets, no paper tickets will be distributed, and once they get their tickets, fans will have to fill out a COVID-19 health screening form, and clear the form to be granted access into the Stadium.
“Everyone that received a digital ticket, actually this afternoon, they are receiving a second email that has the link for the health screening form, and they should fill that out for every member of their group,” Larson said.
Concession and bathroom access will be limited to the north and south concourse, no cash will be accepted at the concession stands, and all food and drink must be consumed at each fans’ seat.
“You take those factors into account, we want to provide an experience that is enjoyable and comfortable for everyone,” Larson said. “Once you make it through the gate, you’ll be given a wrist band and asked to sit in that corresponding section. Within that section, you’ll be able to pick your own spot, just social-distance from other groups. So as long as people are considerate of others, continue to wear their masks and social-distance, it should be a great afternoon for everybody.”
Only the lower-bowl seating areas (capacity of 54,566) at Spartan Stadium will be utilized, resulting in approximately 11% capacity. With the addition of the Spartan Marching Band, and the dance and cheer teams (approximately 300 total), total attendance will be well under MDHHS capacity limits (currently set at 20% capacity).
It’ll won’t be a packed Spartan Stadium like fans are used to seeing in years’ past, but being back inside a stadium that has given fans so many memories will be refreshing.
“For those that are able to be on campus tomorrow, I think it’s an opportunity to just kind of remind them a little bit about what makes Spartan Football special,” Larson said. “And just kind of a reminder, to be back in Spartan Stadium, where you’ve seen so many great memories, so many great plays, so many great players, great coaches, records being set. It’s an opportunity just to connect with that once again. And for those that’ll be watching at home, it’s an opportunity, yet again, to see ‘hey, there are fans there in attendance, I can’t wait until fall comes and I’m able to get back inside Spartan Stadium.'”