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Dan Mullen wants to pack 'The Swamp,' but University of Florida rejects his wishes

School president says Florida 'remains fully and firmly committed' to limiting attendance amid pandemic
Florida Gators head coach Dan Mullen wearing mask on sideline at Texas A&M Aggies in 2020
Posted at 2:26 PM, Oct 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-12 15:39:04-04

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.

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.

Florida Gators tight end Kyle Pitts celebrates TD vs. South Carolina Gamecocks in 2020
Florida tight end Kyle Pits leaps up as he celebrates a touchdown catch with teammates during a game against South Carolina, Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020, in Gainesville, Fla.

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.