South Carolina women's basketball to allow 3,500 fans at home games

South Carolina, the national attendance leader in each of the past six seasons in women's basketball, will be allowed to have approximately 3,500 fans at home games to begin this season.

The school announced its modified attendance plan Tuesday, with both men's and women's basketball capped at what equates to about 20% of capacity at Colonial Life Arena.

South Carolina women's basketball averaged 12,218 fans over 12 home dates a season ago, easily holding on to the attendance title it took from SEC rival Tennessee during the 2014-15 season and held ever since under coach Dawn Staley.

"We appreciate everyone who worked so hard for us to be able to have our fams (fans/family) join us at Colonial Life Arena this season," Staley said. "It won't look anything like our last six seasons of leading the nation in attendance, but we know the 3,500 people that get into the building will do everything they can to make it feel the same for us. And we hope that we'll still be among the nation's attendance leaders at the end of the season as everyone around the country has to adjust their numbers to allow fans to safely celebrate the season with us."

Connecticut, South Carolina and Tennessee are the only schools this century to lead the nation in average attendance in women's basketball.

South Carolina said that tickets, which will only be available via mobile apps, will be sold in groups of two, four and six seats. Each group will be separated by approximately six feet. Masks will be required for all fans and staff in the arena, and there will be new signage and directions for foot traffic, including concessions and restrooms.

Fans will not be allowed to sit in the first five rows behind the court.

South Carolina has yet to announce its home schedule for the upcoming season.

The South Carolina announcement comes a day after UConn said it would limit attendance at Gampel Pavilion to families of players and coaches to begin the season, in accordance with directives of state public health officials. UConn typically splits games between on-campus Gampel Pavilion and the XL Center in Hartford but will play all of its home games at Gampel this season.

Ranked second in attendance a season ago, Oregon will start the season without fans inside Matthew Knight Arena. The Pac-12 announced in September that its schools would not be permitted to have fans in attendance at home games through the end of the calendar year.

Traditionally among attendance leaders and expected to have one of its best teams in years, Iowa State has yet to announce attendance plans for Hilton Coliseum. The Cyclones ranked third in attendance a season ago with 9,690 fans per game.

Some traditional attendance strongholds have announced plans for partial attendance. Baylor will allow 25% of capacity to start the season at the Ferrell Center, which equates to approximately 2,600 fans at the on-campus arena. Louisville will allow 15% of capacity, or approximately 3,000 fans, at its off-campus downtown arena.

Louisville was fifth in attendance last season, while Baylor ranked seventh. On the court, both teams are expected to be ranked in the top 10 when the season begins.