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Stadiums should not yet be full capacity

Tennessee v Georgia Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

“Your Scientists Were So Preoccupied With Whether Or Not They Could, They Didn’t Stop To Think If They Should.” - Dr. Ian Malcolm, Jurassic Park

I learned a long time ago that you cannot force anyone to behave or think a certain way. If given an opportunity to do something, some people will do it no matter what you advise them.

For example, there are Florida fans that have this belief that Dan Mullen can outrecruit Kirby Smart.

So it will likely go next weekend in Charlotte, NC where Georgia and Clemson fans will stream to the Queen City and pack Uptown. The same will likely hold true the weekend of Sept. 11 when the University of Georgia plans to not only have full capacity at Sanford Stadium, but has no plans for any COVID-19 mandates in place. That means a full capacity of fans, no mask requirements, no social distancing and no vaccine requirements.

This comes on the same week that LSU, yes the place where visiting fans have to tread lightly around the rabid fans within the stench of funnel cake batter, urine, and vomit mixed together, is taking more precautions.

There is no plausible reason for Sanford Stadium to be full capacity against UAB. Neither is there a reason for there to be zero protocols against COVID-19.

Look, I get it. After the past 18 months, there’s nothing that would be more therapeutic for many than a full stadium in Athens. But as much as we’d like to believe that COVID-19 is no longer a factor, the exact case is opposite.

The University of Georgia has some very smart people making day-to-day decisions, but none of them apparently were involved in this decision.

In July, having a full capacity would have been fully understandable and logical.

But that was then. This is now. And the now that faces many states of which call an SEC school home, no matter how much there is a desire to live in an alternate universe bubble is that the Delta Variant of COVID-19 makes it unsafe for large events.

Hospitals are overrun with COVID-19 patients, many unvaccinated. Healthcare workers, many of whom everyone fell over themselves last year to call ‘heroes,’ are overrun by the latest wave of COVID-19. What if, God forbid, a team bus wrecks on the way into Athens? The already over-capacity ER probably can’t? Maybe a call can be placed to social media comment sections asking if anyone knows who to respond to an emergency incident?

To have a large-capacity event with no restrictions puts everyone that fans in attendance will go home to be around at risk and is also an insult to those in hospitals that are on a mental roller coaster that shows no signs of stopping.

Most of all - the risk of carrying COVID-19 back to communities puts the youngest Bulldog fans at risk of a virus that we do not yet even know the long-term effects of. As of now, those 12 and under are not able to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Packing a stadium full of people willingly puts this very group at risk.

As the parent of one child that is immunocompromised and highly susceptible to respiratory illnesses, I have accepted the reality in recent weeks that this’ll be the second fall in a row without a Saturday In Athens. I love the Bulldogs, but not enough to put my own child at risk by being in the middle of 90,000-plus people.

I’m not worried about whether or not we’ll have a season. The leadership shown to protect players, coaches, and staff members has been second to none.

The same cannot be said for the leadership, or lack of, by both The University of Georgia or the SEC.

Go Dawgs...wherever you watch from this fall