TAMPA — Because of safety concerns surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, the 2020-21 USF men’s and women’s basketball seasons will be played without any fans in attendance at least through Dec. 15, USF Athletics announced Thursday.
“After consulting with university leadership and local health officials, we felt it was the right decision to begin the 2020-21 men’s and women’s basketball seasons without fans in attendance in the Yuengling Center,” athletic director Michael Kelly said in a news release.
“We understand this decision will not be happily received by the many fans excited to see our basketball teams, but we feel it is in the best interest of our fans and broader university and Bay area communities, as well as in line with our priority for the health and safety of our student-athletes and coaches as they begin to compete for conference championships with an eye toward postseason play.
“We will continue to closely monitor the situation surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and consult local, state and university health officials as we assess attendance policies throughout the season.”
Complete Bulls’ schedules have not yet been released, but they will be coming soon, considering that under NCAA guidelines the first date of competition for the 2020-21 season is Nov. 25.
The decision to play without fans at least through Dec. 15 (around the time the non-conference schedule ends) will be re-evaluated as the schedule moves forward. USF Athletics and the university will examine the possibility of limited fan attendance at future home dates if deemed appropriate by state, local and university officials. A limited number of players’ and coaches’ family members may be admitted via pass list to attend home games in person.
The American Athletic Conference and ESPN begin a new 12-year television rights agreement this season that will see nearly all men’s and women’s games available for viewing either via traditional linear networks or digitally through ESPN+.
Men’s and women’s basketball season-ticket members will have three options similar to football season-ticket members who were unable to use their tickets. Members may: Defer their payment for 2020-21 season tickets toward tickets for the 2021-22 season; donate their 2020-21 ticket purchase to the Bulls Club; or request a full refund of their 2020-21 season ticket payment. All season ticket members will be contacted directly with details. Fans with questions may contact the USF ticket office at 1-800-GoBulls.
If attendance at USF men’s and women’s basketball home games becomes possible, current season-ticket members will be given first priority to purchase tickets and select seating locations in a limited capacity configuration in the Yuengling Center. All games in which fan attendance becomes possible will be ticketed on a single-game basis with tickets purchased by calling 1-800-Go-Bulls or visiting USFBullsTix.com.
USF has moved to all mobile ticketing this year with the free USF Bulls app.