Iowa State AD: "Absolute Mitigation Isn't Practical"

Jamie Pollard explained how Iowa State is approaching the college football season in the world of COVID-19

Zach Gelb
May 28, 2020 - 2:35 pm
Iowa State AD Jamie Pollard

USA Today Images


Due to the coronavirus pandemic, it is unknown how, or if, college football will occur in 2020. But towns all across America are hoping to make it work – and not just because they love football.

“In a town like Ames, Iowa, which is a college town, it’s a company town, and we’re the company,” Iowa State Athletic Director Jamie Pollard said on The Zach Gelb Show. “We have a responsibility to try to figure [this] out. It isn’t necessarily just about the athletics department. It’s about how do we keep Ames, Iowa, and all the other college towns afloat?”

That’s a good question. So is the question of keeping people safe in the process.

“Absolute mitigation, it isn’t practical, and it isn’t reasonable,” Pollard said. “Absolute mitigation is no fans, no game. Just shut it completely down. That’s the only way you’re not going to have anybody be able to say they got COVID attending an event. And that just isn’t reasonable economically to say you’re not going to do anything.”

Thus, Iowa State is taking action. It plans to implement various “mitigation strategies” on gamedays. While the specifics are still being discussed, they figure to involve anything from seating to concessions.

“We’ll put those mitigation strategies in place, and then fans are going to have to decide is that enough for them,” Pollard said. “That’s an individual decision that every single person will have to make themselves. . . . What we’ve got to do is find a middle ground that keeps people genuinely safe and allows them to have a choice.”

Jack Trice Stadium holds roughly 60,000 fans, and Iowa State has roughly 47,000 season-ticket holders. Due to social-distancing guidelines in Iowa, however, the stadium may only operate at half capacity during the season.

“If the cap doesn’t get lifted, it’s only going to be 30,000 [people in attendance],” Pollard said. “And so, the first 30,000 season-ticket holders that renew and make their donation [will get priority]. We felt that was really important. . . . If they feel later that they aren’t comfortable with our mitigation strategies, we’ll give them their money back. And if you already know you’re not comfortable coming or you unfortunately can’t because you have been financially challenged, that’s okay. Just let us know that, and we’re going to reserve your season ticket for 2021. So somebody may use it this year, but you still have the rights to that ticket a year from now. People have really appreciated that.”