The Barn won't be rocking this season, but homecourt advantage could be non-existent across the college hoops landscape during the pandemic.
The Gophers men's and women's basketball teams are expecting to allow few to no spectators at home games this season at Williams Arena.
Minnesota's fans received emails about attendance for the 2020-21 season being "extremely different" from previous years, because of safety concerns with COVID-19.
The reality of having empty arenas is something college athletic departments across the country are bracing for this year.
"Based on recommendations from local health officials and guidelines in place on the state and local levels, there will be a drastic reduction in the number of spectators permitted to attend Gopher sporting events," the Gophers' email to fans stated. "Current guidelines from the Minnesota Department of Health specify that venues must reduce occupant capacity to no more than 250 (indoor venues) patrons. With this reduction, we anticipate few or no spectators at home basketball games. Our staff is committed to working closely with government officials to monitor guidelines and adjust policies as needed. In addition, it is possible these ticketing procedures will be revisited later as the season progresses, should guidelines change."
The Gophers men's basketball team is expected to open the season Nov. 25 against Wisconsin-Green Bay at Williams Arena. The Gopher women are scheduled to begin a day later at the Barn. The Big Ten basketball schedule hasn't been released yet. Neither has the nonconference slate for both U teams.
Gophers football's first home game vs. Michigan limited attendance to 800 family members of the team at TCF Bank Stadium. Cardboard cutouts were present in the crowd after being purchased by the general public.
The U is having the same fan cardboard cutout option for basketball and hockey. The deadline to submit entries for Ridder Arena and 3M Arena at Mariucci is Friday. The deadline for Williams Arena is Nov. 20.