SALT LAKE CITY – The postponement of the 2020 Pac-12 football season is a blow to long-time fans.
Spending Saturdays in the fall at Rice-Eccles Stadium is an annual ritual for Michael Templin.
He’s been a Ute season ticket holder for nearly three decades and holds large tailgate parties before every home game.
“Football is a three-day game,” Templin said. “It starts on Friday getting ready for the game. Then the actual game on Saturday. Sunday it’s all about clean up.”
Templin estimates between 60-70 people attend his tailgates. Over the years, he’s built relationships with fellow fans.
“You see them six or seven weekends a year. You don’t see them again until football season starts again. They become family,” Templin said.
Making new memories will have to wait now that the presidents of the Pac-12 member schools voted to postpone all athletics until after January 1, 2021.
“I am OK with the season being canceled because it’s all about the players,” Templin said. “These young men are here to get an education and I don’t see jeopardizing their lives as a way to move this university forward. It’s just not a good scenario.”
University of Utah Athletic Director Mark Harlan sent a letter to fans informing them of their options. Anyone who purchased tickets to the postponed 2020 season can either get a refund, apply the money to buy tickets for events scheduled for 2021, or donate the funds to the athletic department.
Templin is holding out hope games can be played in the winter or spring.
“We’ll still go,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of tradition in this and we will show up and do a tailgate party.”
If games are played once the calendar turns to 2021, Templin will be celebrating more than the return of sports.
“Maybe there will be a break in this and somehow we get something that will cure the problem,” Templin said.