MHU Prepares for Short, Safe Football Season

The COVID-19 pandemic put a damper on fall sports at Mars Hill University and many other schools, but didn’t extinguish them. Volleyball and men’s and women’s soccer have been sharing field and court time with traditional spring sports in the early weeks of the semester. Now football will join them as its abbreviated 2020-21 season kicks off this Friday night.

When Mars Hill welcomes the Tusculum Pioneers to Meares Stadium at 7 p.m. Friday, it will be the first time in many years that the Lions have played a football game under the lights. It also will be the first football game under strict fan safety protocols due to the coronavirus.

Attendance will be limited to 30 percent of the Meares Stadium capacity, with only home fans and essential working personnel allowed at the game. Mars Hill University students will be admitted with their student identification cards, and home fans may apply for admission via a form on the MHU Athletics website. Family members of student-athletes and Mars Hill employees and their families will have first priority on available seating. Fans will be required to undergo a temperature check before entering the stadium.

Bleachers will be marked at 10-foot intervals, with only every third row being used for fan seating. Concessions will be limited to bottled drinks and prepackaged food items.

A full listing of fan protocols for football games, including the link to the admission request form, is available at, and protocols for other spring sports are at

Mars Hill’s other home football game is Friday, April 2, against the University of Virginia’s College at Wise. The Lions also have two road contests this season: March 20 at Carson-Newman University and April 10 at Limestone University.