The NCAA announced on Feb. 23 that it will allow up to 25% capacity for its Division I fall championships being held in the spring.
This means the capacity for the May 16 FCS national championship game at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas, will be about 5,000 people. An NCAA representative confirmed to HERO Sports that the 25% max capacity applies to all rounds of the playoffs.
Exact capacity percentages will vary by site, depending on state and local health mandates. But teams hosting playoff games will be capped at 25%. For example, North Dakota State is currently allowing 50% capacity. But if the Bison host one or more playoff games, it will be 25%.
Playoff games hosted in cities and states that do not permit spectators or where the site is deemed to lack capacity for spectators from a health and safety standpoint will allow only essential personnel within the competition venue. Games hosted in cities and states that permit spectators will allow any percentage up to 25% of overall venue capacity.
Currently, most FCS teams are allowing 25% or fewer fans into the stadium.
“Our partnership with state and local health authorities will continue to be vital to providing safe championship experiences,” NCAA Chief Medical Officer Brian Hainline said. “Each championship site presents different circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic and, therefore, allow varied capacities. Still, team testing and safety protocols will remain consistent as our No. 1 priority surrounding all championships remains the safety and well-being of all involved.”
The FCS playoff bracket will have a different look this spring, going from 24 teams to 16 teams. The NCAA says more information about ticket sales will be available closer to the championship dates.
“The national office is working very hard to provide the best experience possible for student-athletes who missed out on these championship opportunities last year,” Senior Vice President of Championships Joni Comstock said. “Although this year’s championships may be different, we are committed to providing a memorable once-in-a-lifetime experience for all student-athletes.”