The Conference USA Preseason Offensive Player of the Year calls Huntington home, and Marshall fans — albeit fewer than usual — will get to see him play.
The university announced Tuesday that fans will be permitted at all Thundering Herd home games this fall. There will be severe restrictions and safety protocols for fans to follow.
Seating will be reduced, although an exact percentage was not given. Joan C. Edwards Stadium has a seating capacity of just over 38,000.
“We are thrilled to be able to have our loyal and passionate fan base in attendance for our six home football games in 2020,” Marshall athletic director Mike Hamrick said in a release. “We worked diligently and deliberately to create a plan that will allow us to proceed safely and take care of our season ticket-holders, students, staff and visitors. We will have a minimal amount of additional tickets available, but the best way to guarantee a seat is through the purchase of season tickets."
The season will start Sept. 5 with Eastern Kentucky visiting for the first of six home games. Remaining home games are Sept. 19 versus Appalachian State, Oct. 3 versus Rice, Oct. 24 versus FAU, Nov. 14 versus Middle Tennessee — the 50th anniversary of the 1970 plane crash — and Nov. 21 versus Charlotte.
While priority will be given to season ticket holders, students and players' families, there is the possibility of a limited number of single-game tickets being sold.
For those who already have season tickets, seat locations have changed. Season ticket holders should log on to their accounts at HerdZone.com and click on Order History. Under 2020 Football, click on the EKU game to find your new location.
Game tickets will be sent to cell phones and season ticket holders will receive their tickets via email on their phones five days prior to game day. Cell phone tickets will be scanned at the entrance of the gate closest to the ticket holder's assigned seating area.
Paper tickets will only be issued in an emergency situation. There will be no on-field passes.
No groups larger than six will be permitted in the stands. Fans are to keep the row in front of them and behind them empty while seated, as well as two seats to the left and two seats to the right.
All fans will be required to wear a face covering at all times while in the stadium. No one will be allowed to enter without a covering, and no reentry will be allowed.
Social distancing is to be adhered to; there will be no vendors in the concourse to assist with social distancing efforts.
Cleaning of restrooms, the elevators, stairwells and handrails will take place before and throughout the game. Elevators will be limited to two people, with the exception of a family all living in the same household.
Tailgating will not be permitted. Parking lots will open two hours before kickoff but there is to be no congregating.
Parking passes ordered by Big Green members will be mailed Friday.
“Again, we are so grateful we will have fans at The Joan for such a special season," Hamrick said. "In order to have fans, we must follow the orders and guidelines that will be distributed soon. We will proceed safely, methodically and we look forward to an exciting 2020 season.”
The announcement came moments after C-USA announced its preseason awards. Running back Brenden Knox was named player of the year and was one of five Thundering Herd players honored.
Knox, a 6-foot, 223-pound junior, was the 2019 Player of the Year after leading C-USA with 1,387 yards on 270 carries and scoring 11 touchdowns.
Also honored were offensive lineman Cain Madden, linebacker Tavante Beckett, defensive back Nazeeh Johnson and punt returner Talik Keaton.
Madden was named to the Outland Trophy Watch List last season. Beckett is on the Bronko Nagurski list and led C-USA with 121 tackles last season. Johnson had 88 tackles and seven passes defended a year ago. Keaton was the league's only freshman first-teamer in 2019 after averaging 12.6 yards per punt return.
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