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Virginia Tech Athletics will not host traditional spring football game in 2021

virginia tech logoVirginia Tech is thinking ahead to the fall in terms of fans at football games, announcing Tuesday that it will not host a traditional spring football game in 2021.

Athletics Director Whit Babcock said Tech officials are looking at the fall for a return of fans to Lane Stadium.

“Regrettably, given the current restrictions in place and out of concern for the health and well-being of our community, our student-athletes and our fans, we have made the decision to not have a spring football game,” Babcock said. “We realize this is disappointing for many and certainly for our football team, but we believe that it is the proper decision for the Virginia Tech community and the town of Blacksburg. Additionally, we did not want to provide our fans with an experience which would be far less than they are accustomed to at Lane Stadium, including no tailgating.

“We certainly hope and expect this fall that they can enjoy our full gameday environment with Hokie Village, the Hokie Walk, the Marching Virginians, the Corps of Cadets, the VT Spirit Squads, tailgating and more,” Babcock said.

“Lane Stadium was not the same without Hokie Nation last year,” coach Justin Fuente said. “Our coaches and student-athletes are working hard to be ready for the start of the 2021 season and are excited to have spring practice again. We cannot wait to have our fans jumping in Lane Stadium this fall and I am looking forward to running out of our tunnel with ‘Enter Sandman’ playing. Our entire team is looking forward to seeing and hearing our fans in full force this season.”

Tech Athletics is making enhancements at Lane Stadium in preparations for the 2021 football season. Those improvements include the installation of over 200 hand sanitizing stations, contactless concession options, as well as preparations for socially distanced seating (if necessary) and more.

Virginia Tech is scheduled to host seven games at Lane Stadium this season, kicking the year off with a conference clash with North Carolina on either Thursday, Sept. 2 or Friday, Sept. 3.

The Hokies will begin the season with North Carolina for the first time since 1946. In a series that dates back to 1895, the Hokies own a 24-13-6 all-time advantage against the Tar Heels.

Tech has won its last two home meetings against North Carolina, including the longest game in ACC history, a six-OT, 43-41 victory in 2019.

Tech and Notre Dame will square off for the fourth time and only the second time at Lane Stadium when the Fighting Irish visit on Oct. 9.

Six of Tech’s first seven games are at home in 2021.

Back to the spring part of this, it became clear as planning went on for spring practice that a spring game with fans just didn’t make sense.

“The final element of conducting a spring game that proved problematic was determining an equitable way to allocate the very limited amount of tickets we would have been permitted to issue,” Babcock said. “With the limit at 1,000, it would have been limited to guests of student-athletes and would not have provided an opportunity for many fans to come to Lane Stadium anyway.

“Even if the appropriate officials and agencies were to move to an increased attendance protocol in the near term, it’s just too soon to jump back into it,” Babcock said. “I wish we could, and we will soon, when it’s appropriate. We will be offering our fans enhanced, behind-the-scenes features from spring football practices and our creative team will deliver exclusive interviews and other special features to our donors and fans throughout spring ball.”

Story by Chris Graham


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