Penn State University is preparing to play the upcoming college football season without fans in attendance because of the coronavirus pandemic. The result of having no paying customers at home games could mean losses of upwards of $100 million for the school.

Athletics director Sandy Barbour noted Thursday that Pennsylvania’s Governor’s office currently limits outside gatherings to 250 people, while inside events cannot hold more than 25 people.

“Under the current conditions and current state orders, our fall sports events would be conducted without fans in the general seating areas of our facilities,” Barbour said. “We continue to work with the Governor's office to discuss, and possibly be prepared for the opportunity to have spectators at our fall Penn State sporting events.”

Without fans in attendance, Penn State’s revenue losses will be in the high eight figures, according to Barbour. Those losses could reach nine figures if games are canceled because of coronavirus concerns.

On Wednesday, UConn became the first FBS school to cancel its 2020 football season. Several small conferences canceled fall sports last month. The Big Ten released a revised conference-only schedule featuring 10 games for each team, including Penn State, Wednesday.

With an average of 105,678 fans per game last season, Penn State ranked second in college football attendance. A crowd of 110,669 fans watched the Nittany Lions defeat Michigan at Beaver Stadium last October.

Penn State is back to being one of the sport’s top programs after being rocked by a child sexual abuse scandal, for which former coach Jerry Sandusky will spend the rest of his life in prison. Sandusky was arrested in 2011. The average attendance at Penn State home games dropped from 101,427 that year to 96,730 in 2012.

Average attendance was back in the six figures in 2013.

Penn State athletics reported operating revenues of $164,529,326 for 2019. The university earned $36.8 million from football ticket sales.

Thursday’s USA Today/Amway Coaches Preseason Top 25 ranked Penn State as the seventh-best team in the country.

Penn State Football
KJ Hamler #1 of the Penn State Nittany Lions looks on with fans during the second half of the game against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Beaver Stadium on November 30, 2019 in State College, Pennsylvania. Scott Taetsch/Getty Images