COLUMBIA — Tailgating will not be allowed at Missouri home football games this fall as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The Southeastern Conference left the decision up to individual schools, but MU Athletics announced Friday afternoon it would not permit tailgating in lots and or anywhere else on campus property.
"This was a difficult decision to make because of the passion Mizzou fans have for game-day tailgating and the backdrop it provides as part of a football Saturday in Columbia," Missouri athletic director Jim Sterk said in a statement. "However, the health and safety of all our fans remain a top priority as we continue working toward a very different-looking 2020 season."
The Tigers open against Alabama at 6 p.m. Sept. 26. The game will be televised on ESPN.
Missouri said the decision was made "based on the guidance of public health officials and MU and MU Health Care's own infectious disease experts."
"In an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19 and keep our community safe, we are prohibiting tailgating on University of Missouri property this fall," vice chancellor for operations Gary Ward said in the statement. "This means no tailgating anywhere — grassy or landscaped areas, sidewalks, streets, parking lots or parking structures."
The athletic department has not announced a change in its previously-announced plans to host crowds of up to 25 percent capacity this fall. The Kansas City Chiefs hosted the NFL's season opener Thursday night at Arrowhead Stadium, with an announced crowd of 15,895, and tailgating was permitted before the game.
In updated attendance requirements released by the university this week, Missouri will also be asking any fans in attendance to wear masks as a condition of entry to Faurot Field, and to keep the mask on during the game, even when seated with family or roommates. Full guidances can be found at www.mizzougameday.com
Missouri redshirt junior quarterback Taylor Powell will transfer from the Tigers, the program confirmed Friday, after his name was removed from the team's online roster page.
Powell, an Arkansas native, had been teammates at Missouri with former high school teammates Barrett Bannister and Akial Byers, and led the Tigers to a 24-14 win against the Razorbacks in Little Rock to close out the end of last season. Powell graduated from Missouri in the fall and will likely be immediately eligible wherever he lands.
"Since I began my collegiate career at Mizzou, I have given my all for my teammates, coaches and the university," Powell said on social media Friday evening. "The memories I share with my brothers, I will always cherish. I want to thank my teammates for always having my back and going to war with me every single day.
"I am grateful for coach Drinkwitz and coach Odom, for teaching me how to be a great player and more importantly a good man. To all of my incredible coaches, thank you for your invaluable lessons both on and off the field. I am proud to be a Mizzou alumni (sic) and will be a Tiger for life. Lastly, thank you to my family, friends and loved ones who have given an incredible amount of support to me along this journey. I love you all!
"After much consideration and prayer it is in my best interest to transfer from the University of Missouri and explore the opportunities with my final two seasons as a graduate transfer. I am extremely excited to begin this next chapter and look forward to my future."
Powell started one game of his career in Black and Gold, completing 10-of-22 passes for 84 yards at No. 6 Georgia after Kelly Bryant was injured in the previous game against Kentucky. Powell came on in the Arkansas game after freshman Connor Bazelak tore his ACL and completed 8-of-14 passes for a career-high-tying 105 yards, a touchdown and an interception, but TCU transfer Shawn Robinson, who sat out last year, as well as Bazelak, have emerged as the favorites to start against the Crimson Tide for first-year head coach Eliah Drinkwitz.
In his career, Powell completed 35-of-76 passes for 431 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions.