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NDSU will allow 10K fans to see Bison play Central Arkansas

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North Dakota State will acommodate up to 10,000 fans for its Oct. 3 game against Central Arkansas. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor
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FARGO — A much-anticipated decision on how many people will be able to get into Gate City Bank Field at the Fargodome on Oct. 3 is in. North Dakota State will allow 10,000 fans to see the Bison take on Central Arkansas.

The facility has a capacity of 18,700 for football games and with standing-room only tickets can handle crowds in excess of 19,000. Fans will be required to wear masks.

Take note: There will be several more restrictions than the basic Bison sold-out football game that makes life so tough on opponents.

NDSU, in a release, said "failure to follow the directions of event personnel or failure to wear a mask (when not eating or drinking) could result in ticket revocation and the loss of ticket privileges in the future."

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But, for one Saturday anyway, there will be football and Derrick Lang, the executive director of NDSU Team Makers, said reactions from boosters have been a mixed bag.

"I would say some people are surprised that it is this many and some thought we would have even more fans," he said.

The Central Arkansas game was developed in a collaborative effort between the dome, the City of Fargo, Fargo Cass Public Health and the university because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Season ticket holders are asked to complete a survey for tickets at gobison.com/request by 4 p.m. on Friday.

Requests for tickets will be ranked by priority points with email on status of the request to be completed by Sept. 11. NDSU has 3,300 season ticket holder accounts that comprise its 13,500 total season tickets.

Tailgating will not be allowed. Moreover, no recreational vehicles, buses or trailers will be allowed in the parking lots. Fans who have reserved parking or tailgating passes will be able to retain their spots with additional information for parking pass holders to be released on Sept. 14.

"We're just as disappointed as some of those people are of not having tailgating," Lang said. "We're hopeful for the spring but that will play itself out depending on a lot of other things. It's about keeping the community and fans as safe as possible. We thought it would be tough to patrol the tailgating."

Season ticket holders will be assigned to their usual seats, but additional seats throughout the stadium will be left empty for fans wanting more social distancing.

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"People are excited that they'll be able to sit in their own seats and if they're not comfortable we'll have those pockets they can move to," Lang said.

The 10,000 in attendance will get one treat: For the eighth time in nine years, the school will raise the FCS national title banner after last year's championship win over James Madison.

It will be a Senior Night of sorts with the Bison introducing the senior class before the game. That's an event typically held before the last regular season home game. NDSU is scheduled to play a spring Missouri Valley Football Conference season beginning in late February.

"We certainly wanted to make it happen," Lang said of fall football. "They kids wanted to play. The staff wanted to play. The administration wanted to play in the fall. We're super-excited to have something for the kids to work for in the fall. All the decisions we make are in the best interest of the student-athletes."

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Jeff would like to dispel the notion he was around when Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press, but he is on his third decade of reporting with Forum Communications. The son of a reporter and an English teacher, and the brother of a reporter, Jeff has worked at the Jamestown Sun, Bismarck Tribune and since 1990 The Forum, where he's covered North Dakota State athletics since 1995.
Jeff has covered all nine of NDSU's Division I FCS national football titles and has written three books: "Horns Up," "North Dakota Tough" and "Covid Kids." He is the radio host of "The Golf Show with Jeff Kolpack" April through August.
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