Penn State football to host freshmen students at its final ‘spring practice’
UNIVERSITY PARK — Penn State President Eric Barron and Intercollegiate Athletics have announced the opportunity for first-year students at University Park to attend Penn State football’s final spring practice on Saturday, April 17 in Beaver Stadium.
“We are pleased to be able to offer an opportunity for our first-year students to experience Beaver Stadium for the first time as Penn Staters,” Barron said. “Because of the pandemic, these students have missed out on this special tradition of cheering on the Nittany Lions, and we hope this will be a memorable way for them to gather together and celebrate the final practice of the spring. While we are excited to offer this in-person opportunity, students must continue to do their part by following health and safety guidelines to bring this opportunity to fruition.”
To support the health and safety of attendees and allow for physical distancing protocols, the final spring practice willfollow all state and federal guidelines for gatherings and the families and guests of student-athletes, coaches and staff. To provide an opportunity for the broader Penn State community to participate, Athletics will announce plans for a virtual spring practice event, including for Penn State students and the general public, in the coming weeks.
“While first-year students have not yet been able to experience Nittanyville or take their spot in the best student section in the country in Beaver Stadium, we are thrilled they will be able participate in many other favorite traditions during this final spring practice, including the team entering the field, the Blue Band playing, cheer and dance squads performing, and the team singing of our beloved Alma Mater,” said Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics . “We are hopeful for the fall and continue to focus on the health and safety of our community and on providing the best opportunity for a full capacity stadium for the Sept. 11 game against Ball State.”
The opportunity to invite first-year students to an in-person spring football practice is part of the University’s phased plan to restore in-person student experiences and to steadily expand organized activities this spring as the pandemic and public health and government guidelines allow. Among these efforts will be a range of outdoor engagement experiences for students as the weather warms, including opportunities for seniors to gather together for commencement ceremonies across Penn State’s campuses in May.
First-year students at University Park will receive direct communication from Penn State Athletics via their Penn State email with details and instructions, including health and safety guidelines, for attending the final spring practice on April 17. Those who attend the final spring practice will be required to wear face masks at all times and to practice physical distancing. In addition, University parking lots will be closed, and tailgating will not be permitted in an effort to minimize congregating.
Penn State is monitoring closely the spread of new variants and the potential impact of increased activities such as travel nationally. The University is prepared to shift plans should circumstances surrounding the pandemic change or worsen. More information will continue to be shared as needed leading up to the spring practice to align the University’s plans with the most up-to-date federal and state guidance.
Penn State Football kicked off its 15 spring practices Monday. Penn State returns 38 lettermen from last year’s squad – 16 on offense, 20 on defense and three on special teams. Of those 38 lettermen, 20 are returning starters – nine on offense, eight on defense and three on special teams. Among the returning starters are 2020 All-Big Ten second team honorees Mike Miranda, Jahan Dotson and Rasheed Walker, third team honorees Jaquan Brisker and Joey Porter Jr., as well as honorable mention selections Tariq Castro-Fields, PJ Mustipher and Brandon Smith. The Nittany Lions open the 2021 campaign at Wisconsin on Sept. 4.