Senator Obenshain Calls on Governor and NCAA to Relax Restrictions for College Football Games in the Commonwealth

April 21, 2021


CONTACT:  Jennifer Aulgur

PHONE: (540) 437-1451

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Obenshain Calls on Governor and NCAA to Relax Restrictions for College Football Games in the Commonwealth

Restrictions Should be Amended in time for VMI v. JMU College Playoff Game this Weekend

HARRISONBURG, VA  – Today, Senator Mark Obenshain (R-Rockingham), issued the following statement regarding this weekend’s upcoming VMI v. JMU College Football Playoff game in Harrisonburg and the current restrictions with regard to attendance. 

“This weekend is a very exciting one for athletics in Virginia.  VMI will be playing in its first ever college football play-off game against JMU in the first round of the FCS College Playoffs.  Unfortunately, due to the Governor’s current edicts on capacity for outdoor sporting venues, and the more stringent restrictions set by the NCAA, very few fans from either school will even be able to attend this game.”

Governor Northam, via his fourth version of EO 72, limits attendance at outdoor sporting venues to 30% of stadium capacity. Furthermore, the NCAA is even more strict with a limit for football stadiums at 25% capacity.  The capacity of Bridgeforth Stadium at JMU is 25,000; and because of these limitations, only about 6,000 fans will be permitted to attend.

“I have strong ties to both great schools and I just want more fans from both schools to be able to show support. My grandfather was a member of the VMI Class of 1930, JMU is in my Senate district, where I was also a tuition-paying parent.  Invoking the same spirt that led Governor Mark Warner to fight for Virginia Tech to join UVA as a member of the ACC, I call on the Governor to go to bat today for JMU and VMI and to get more fans of both schools seated in that stadium on Saturday. The players have earned it.  They deserve to have more fans there to cheer them on in this game.  The Governor is a doctor and he knows it can be done safely! Maybe JMU even can find it in their hearts to allocate another great Virginia institution — VMI – a few more than 500 tickets it has been allocated out of the more 6,000 available.”

Obenshain concluded, “I call on the Governor, a graduate of VMI, to immediately loosen his arbitrary capacity restrictions for outdoor sporting venues.  Moreover, the NCAA has no business setting capacity restrictions in Virginia’s stadiums.  Nor should their limits be more restrictive that those established by state health officials.  Relax the limits and let more fans of both teams attend the game on Saturday! The players and fans deserve it.”

Senator Obenshain represents the twenty-sixth district in the Senate of Virginia. The district includes the city of Harrisonburg and the counties of Warren, Shenandoah, Page Rappahannock and Rockingham (part).