GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Dan Mullen won't be getting his way this weekend.
Shortly after then-No. 21 Texas A&M beat the fourth-ranked Gators 41-38 on Saturday, Florida's third-year head coach said he felt the crowd at Kyle Stadium played a factor in the upset.
Then he said he hoped the university would allow a capacity crowd at "The Swamp" for this Saturday's game against defending national champion LSU.
"I know our governor passed that rule, so certainly, hopefully, the university administration decides to let us pack 'The Swamp' for LSU next week," Mullen told reporters. "One-hundred percent, because that crowd was a major factor in the game, and so I certainly hope our university administration follows the governor. Our governor has passed a rule that we're allowed to pack 'The Swamp.'"
But University of Florida President Kent Fuchs announced Sunday that the school "remains fully and firmly committed" to following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines throughout campus to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
UF remains fully and firmly committed to following CDC guidelines (https://t.co/xWvCfZxucp) for every part of our campus from classrooms to athletic venues as well as the guidance (https://t.co/NdKCumo9VZ) of our own experts at @UFHealth and local and state health officials.— W. Kent Fuchs (@PresidentFuchs) October 11, 2020
This includes physical distancing by ensuring 6 feet between yourself and others and wearing a mask or cloth face covering. Although adherence to the guidelines restricts our behavior and limits the occupancy of our facilities...— W. Kent Fuchs (@PresidentFuchs) October 11, 2020
these preventative measures remain the most effective ways to slow the spread of COVID-19. It is important that all members of the UF community and our campus visitors follow this guidance.— W. Kent Fuchs (@PresidentFuchs) October 11, 2020
That includes requiring masks and limiting capacity at Steve Spurrier-Florida Field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, which seats 88,548.
Cody McCloud, press secretary for Gov. Ron DeSantis, said sports franchises and college athletic teams "can do as they please regarding capacity."
"They don't need clearance of any sort from the state," McCloud said. "It is their decision."
The University of Florida is currently allowing 20% of its listed capacity -- about 17,000 fans -- to attend home games.
Capacity at Kyle Field was listed at 24,709 Saturday. The stadium seats more than 100,000 fans.
Mullen said he "didn't see an empty seat" in the section behind Florida's team bench.
"I absolutely want to see 90,000 in 'The Swamp,'" Mullen reiterated Saturday.
It seems he'll have to settle for about 73,000 fewer fans.