The 52,000-seat SHI Stadium at Rutgers University in Piscataway is fully reopening this fall with the kick-off game on Sept. 2 against Temple University, the university announced June 16.
“Scarlet Knight fans will experience the sights and sounds that make college football special,” reads the Wednesday announcement. Ticket purchases are already available online, and the first Big Ten in-league game will be against Ohio State University on Oct. 2.
Rutgers is already requiring students to get the COVID-19 vaccine before they return to campus this fall.
“The Marching Scarlet Knights, the Scarlet Walk and tailgating are all long-held traditions in Piscataway that were sidelined in 2020 due to the pandemic that fans can look forward to enjoying again,” the announcement continues.
College sports arenas were largely closed to the public and non-essential personnel during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and reduced capacity across the board.
Institutions of higher education across the state saw their finances crater amid campus closures, which meant loss in revenue from student housing, campus dining, parking fees, campus athletics, and events and conferences. Rutgers said it reported a $73 million loss from athletics, housing, dining and parking.
Wednesday’s announcement comes just two weeks after reduced capacity and facemask restrictions were fully lifted in New Jersey for live venues such as arenas and sports stadiums. That day, June 4, Gov. Phil Murphy also signed a bill formally ending the COVID-19 public health emergency, and with it many business restrictions. Masking requirements are largely lifted for those who have been fully vaccinated. Unvaccinated patrons will be required to wear face coverings, but short of customers showing their vaccination records, businesses will instead need to rely on their good word.
“If the [New Jersey] Devils had a game on June 4, could they sell out and the answer is yes,” Murphy said. The Devils are based out of the 18,000-seat Prudential Center, an indoor concert and sports stadium in Newark.