Colleges and universities in New York can play football and other sports this fall, but they will have to do so without fans in the stands because of the coronavirus pandemic, according to an order from Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday.
"Fanless, the game can go on, the game can be televised, but no fans," Cuomo said during a conference call with reporters, according to multiple news outlets.
The order would affect FBS members Army, Buffalo and Syracuse, as well as a handful of FCS programs if their seasons are played.
"The health and safety of our student-athletes, our fans, our campus community and the broader Central New York community is our chief priority," Syracuse athletic director John Wildhack said in a statement. "We appreciate and support Governor Cuomo's continued commitment and ongoing efforts to keeping our communities safe. We will seek further clarification regarding the opportunity to have fans at our games and move forward appropriately under the guidance of the state."
It wasn't immediately clear if Cuomo's order would also affect college basketball games and holiday tournaments, including the 2K Empire Classic at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 19-20, and the Legends Classic at the Barclays Center on Nov. 23-24. The Gotham Classic is also scheduled to be played at MSG in December.
Earlier this month, the state released guidelines for professional sports competition that contained several mandatory and recommended practices for physical distancing, hygiene and workplace activity -- including the prohibition of fans at games or outside venues.
Under current circumstances, the guidelines mandate that teams "ensure that no live audience, fans, or spectators are allowed to attend or permitted to enter any professional sports venue, even if an outdoor venue."
"Guidelines are developed based on the latest guidance from public health officials and data, and will be updated over time based on emerging science and information," Jason Conwall, a spokesperson for Cuomo, told ESPN earlier this month.
ESPN's Marcel Louis-Jacques contributed to this report.