The entire SMU student section was kicked out of Gerald J. Ford Stadium by police during the first half of SMU’s 30-27 win over Memphis. The majority of students were not wearing masks and were grouped close together, according to Sam Blum of The Dallas Morning News.
The students were grouped on a grass hill behind the end zone when police officers instructed them to begin leaving near the end of the first half. It was unclear whether the police were acting at the instruction of the school or if the police department was making its own decision.
Mask-wearing was reportedly an issue during SMU’s home opener against Stephen F. Austin last weekend. SMU athletic director Rick Hart issued a statement on the matter on Tuesday.
“The majority of fans in the stadium behaved responsibly and were socially-distanced and masked,” Hart wrote. “That said, we will be working to adjust the behavior of a small subsection of fans who did not follow our pledge to protect, which was sent to all ticketholders…
“We will also increase staffing in the student section to provide direction, monitor policy compliance and provide support. Student violators may be referred to the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards. We will add additional student-specific signage with safety reminders to that area as well to reinforce our masking and distancing message.”
SMU’s health and safety guidelines limit the student section to 1,000, though the Morning News reported that it appeared there were more than that amount on Saturday. SMU plays its next home game on Oct. 24 against Cincinnati.