Never miss a story
Sign up for our free daily morning email...
...and afternoon text update

become a member

There is nearly nothing Texas loves more than its Saturday game days, and according to Texas Athletic Director Chris Del Conte, Longhorn fans can plan to pack the stands again in 2021—pending herd immunity.

As the one-year anniversary of COVID-19 rolls around, a hopeful fan reached out to Del Conte on Twitter this week and asked if the University of Texas is planning for full stadium capacity when the season starts, "assuming the majority of the country is vaccinated."

Del Conte responded with an optimistic "That's our plan," flashing a hook 'em emoji.

Texas plans to open the season on Sept. 4 against Louisiana—a start date that is still more than 190 days away. During the 2020 season, stadium capacity was limited to 25%—or about 25,000 attendees. Other sports were limited as well.

With medical professionals projecting that the U.S. will return to some degree of normalcy this year—Dr. Marty Markay predicting normalcy by April and Dr. Anthony Fauci predicting a much later timeline of the end of 2021—Texas Football celebrations might be in the future.

However, Austin Public Health has previously said relaxing COVID safety measures—such as capacity restrictions at events—the county would need to establish herd immunity—which occurs when 70% to 75% of the population is immune to the disease. Currently, only 11% of the age 16 and older Travis County population is vaccinated with at least one dose. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine could be authorized for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration on Friday; the availability of a third vaccine could speed up the process of achieving herd immunity. And COVID cases continue to decline.

All in all, UT started collecting deposits for season tickets three weeks ago, inviting fans to become part of the #AllGasNoBrakes era of Texas Football led by new Head Coach Steve Sarkisian, saying the athletic department plans to return to normal on its website.

"Texas Athletics is currently planning for attendance at 2021 home games to be at 100% seating capacity. We will continue to monitor local COVID-19 health and safety conditions in coordination with NCAA, Big 12, University, state, and local medical partners," the website reads.

Texas is starting the spring season a little later than normal this year, planning to start the first practice on March 23 and first game pending on April 24. In his weekly newsletter, Del Conte encouraged fans to come out for the first game, saying "you'll definitely want to plan to be in Austin for that one."


Artist Chris Rogers painted this East Austin mural after the May 25 police killing of George Floyd, center. Mike Ramos, third from left, was shot to death by an Austin police officer on April 24. (Austonia)

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty on three charges—second- and third-degree murder as well as manslaughter—in the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man whose final moments were recorded by onlookers, sparking a global protest movement over police violence and racial injustice. He faces up to 40 years in prison.

Jurors deliberated for 10 hours over two days after an intense, three-week trial before reaching a verdict Tuesday afternoon, four days shy of the first anniversary of the Austin police killing of Mike Ramos, an unarmed, 42-year-old Black and Hispanic man whose name became a rallying cry—along with Floyd's—for Austin protestors, who marched en masse last summer, prompting some police reforms.

Keep Reading Show less

Miami and Austin are going head-to-head for tech transplants. (Pexels)

Californians love Texas, and Austin—with its liberal politics, relatively affordable housing and job opportunities—is particularly adored. In fact, the Lone Star State was the main recipient of departing Californians in 2019, according to the latest available U.S. Census Bureau data.

But other states, including Florida, are seeing increased interest. Miami Mayor Francis Suarez has made a name for himself on Twitter recruiting techies and hyping up his city, which has a lot in common with Austin—with the added benefit of a beach and sans the "Don't California my Texas" attitude.

Keep Reading Show less

(Austin FC/Twitter)

In the days after Austin FC's inaugural match against LAFC on Saturday, Head Coach Josh Wolff says he's watched the game "a number of times, to say the least."

In the match, Wolff and over 500,000 other viewers looked on as Austin FC took to the pitch for the first time, held their own in the first half against LAFC and eventually fell 2-0 to a team that's sometimes regarded as the best in the league.

Keep Reading Show less