SMU students kicked out game for violating COVID-19 protocols

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DALLAS — Police removed fans in the end zone student section late in the first half of SMU’s 30-27 win over No. 25 Memphis on Saturday night for not wearing face coverings or adhering to social distancing guidelines.

SMU Athletics said in a statement that several reminders were given in the past week about the importance of following safety measures. There also was increased staffing in the student section to provide direction, monitor policy compliance and provide support.

“During the game, some students began to gather and disregard these safety measures,” the statement said. “They were asked to spread out and mask when in close contact. After numerous attempts by staff and security to get the students to comply with these safety requirements, it became necessary to clear the area. While some students did move to other areas in the stadium where they could watch in small groups at safe distances, many did leave.”

Spokeswoman Dianne Anderson said 1,000 students were admitted to the game.

“Students who knowingly violate the SMU pledge to protect by not social distancing and masking under university guidelines can be held responsible under the student code of conduct,” Anderson texted to The Associated Press.

The school said it is hoped students will be able to return for the next home game Oct. 24 against Cincinnati.

The students missed an exciting finish as Chris Naggar kicked a 43-yard field goal with nine seconds left to win it for SMU, who blew an early three-touchdown lead against a team playing its first game in four weeks.

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