Sandy Barbour

Gates to Beaver Stadium on Penn State's University Park campus in summer 2020.
Min Xian / WPSU

Penn State will have a football season this year after all, and despite precautions the university says it will take, concerns remain in the community about whether home games could contribute to an increase in COVID-19 cases.

Penn State and other Big Ten universities voted unanimously to have a football season this fall, starting the weekend of Oct. 23.

In its announcement, the Big Ten outlined various precautions it says schools will take. Student-athletes will be tested daily, as will coaches and trainers.

Penn State's Beaver Stadium is usually packed for "Whiteout games," but due to COVID-19 there will be no fans this Saturday.
Emily Reddy / WPSU

Pointing to health concerns from the COVID-19 pandemic and the uncertainty surrounding them, the Big Ten announced Tuesday afternoon that it is postponing fall 2020 sports, including football.

“Our primary responsibility is to make the best possible decisions in the interest of our students, faculty and staff,” said Morton Schapiro, chair of the Big Ten Council of Presidents/Chancellors and Northwestern University president.

Penn State Athletics Director Sandy Barbour in a face mask at the beginning of an online press conference Thursday, Aug. 6, 2020.
Anne Danahy / WPSU

Penn State Athletics is planning for the football team to play in an empty stadium this fall, but the department does have a seating plan for about 23,000 people if the state changes the rules limiting crowd sizes.

Even with those plans, Athletic Director Sandy Barbour left open the possibility that the football team won’t play at all. 

“The virus will determine whether we play or not,” Barbour said Thursday during a press conference.

Beaver Stadium at Penn State's University Park campus in July 2020.
Min Xian / WPSU

Penn State has tested a total of 178 student-athletes for COVID-19 and none of the results have come back positive so far, according to an announcement from University Athletics Wednesday. Results are pending on 31 tests.

Penn State Athletics has said that student-athletes will be tested on arrival at Penn State, on returning if they leave and if they become symptomatic. Athletes are being discouraged from leaving campus after arriving.

Penn State coach Patrick Chambers reacts to a call late in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Rutgers, Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2020, in State College, Pa.
Gary M. Baranec / AP Photo

  Penn State men’s basketball coach Patrick Chambers has apologized to former player Rasir Bolton via Twitter for a racially insensitive remark about a noose from the 2018-19 basketball season.  

Penn State Athletics Director Sandy Barbour taking off a face mask at the beginning of an online press conference Wednesday, July 1, 2020.
Anne Danahy / WPSU

Penn State Athletics Director Sandy Barbour said during a news conference Wednesday that no student athletes have tested positive for COVID-19 so far out of 102 tested.

Barbour said Athletics will report its results publicly every two weeks. She said that will happen at least until students return for the fall semester, and then will be reevaluated.

The university has said it will make its overall testing results data public.

In this file photo, Penn State head coach James Franklin responds to a question during the Big Ten Conference NCAA college football media days Friday, July 19, 2019, in Chicago.
Charles Rex Arbogast / AP Photo

A former Penn State team doctor is suing the school, football coach James Franklin and athletic director Sandy Barbour, claiming he was ousted after complaining to school officials about being pressured to clear players to return from injuries.

Penn State has hired Sandy Barbour as athletic director, a month after she stepped down as AD at the University of California-Berkeley.

The 54-year-old Barbour replaces David Joyner, who announced he was resigning last month. Joyner took over at Penn State in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal and held the job for two and a half years.

Barbour was given a five-year contract that pays $700,000 per year with potential bonuses worth a potential additional $200,000 per year.