Ohio State intends to have a football season, and with fans in the stands.
The COVID-19 pandemic put the college football season in question, but Ohio State is moving forward with Buckeye football, university president Michael Drake announced on Wednesday.
Though no final decisions have been made Drake said Ohio State is intending to play this football season with fans in the stands – with social distancing measures in place.
”Our hope and intention is to safely have a football season.”– Michael Drake
“Regarding football, our hope and intention is to safely have a football season, with an audience spaced out in our stadium, but we haven’t made any final decisions,” Drake said.
Last month, Gene Smith said Ohio State was exploring the possibility of playing games with no fans, or limiting the capacity to 20,000 to 50,000 spectators with social distancing measures in place.
“Obviously, we're fortunate 100,000 seats in the stadium,” Smith said. “So, could we implement the current CDC guidelines, the state guidelines around physical distancing, mask requirements and all those types of things in an outdoor environment and have obviously significantly less fans than what we are used to? I think it's possible. I just feel like we have the talent, skill and space capacity to provide an opportunity for a certain number of fans to have access to our particular stadium.
“Of course, that wouldn't be true across the country because of capacity. But I think we can get there.”
Drake also announced that Ohio State will begin its autumn semester on Aug. 25 with a modified fall schedule. The return to campus operations will include a mix of online and in-person classes and will include a number of safety measures include the use of appropriate face coverings, physical distancing, testing and contact tracing.
Ohio State's football season is set to begin on Sept. 5 in Ohio Stadium with the Buckeyes' matchup with Bowling Green, and it's looking increasingly likely that will take place, and with fans in the stands.