Ohio Stadium will have a reduced capacity of “no more than 20 percent” for the 2020 football season, Ohio State informed season-ticket holders in an email on Tuesday.
Per Tuesday's announcement, fans who attend football games at Ohio Stadium this season – if games are played – will be required to wear masks, physical distancing will be enforced, concessions will be limited, tailgating will be banned and there will be no skull sessions at St. John Arena.
“While no final decision has been made regarding the 2020 football season, the Department of Athletics has been working diligently with university leaders, public health experts and government officials to create game day plans that protect the health, safety and well-being of our student-athletes, staff, faculty and fans,” the email reads. “In order to provide the safest environment, certain measures will need to be implemented at Ohio Stadium this year, including physical distancing, mandatory masks/facial coverings, limited concessions, no tailgating and no skull session at St. John Arena. These measures will result in a reduced crowd capacity of no more than 20 percent of overall stadium capacity and will impact all ticket holder constituencies in both overall ticket quantity and seat location.”
Ohio State is allowing any season-ticket holders who do not want to attend games this season to opt out and maintain their season ticket eligibility without losing their consecutive years of purchase. Season-ticket holders are asked to opt in or out by Monday. Those who opt out will have the option to receive a full refund, apply their ticket payment toward 2021 football season tickets or donate their ticket payment to support student-athlete scholarships.
The email says Ohio State “must reserve the right to reduce ticket allotments and/or refund orders if necessary,” but its “goal will be to accommodate as many season ticket holders as possible.”
An Ohio State spokesperson told Eleven Warriors that students will also have the opportunity to buy tickets if fans are able to attend games at Ohio Stadium this fall.
Ohio Stadium has a listed capacity of 104,944 fans, which would put 20% capacity at less than half of the 44,320 fans who opted to renew their season tickets earlier this year.
That said, it's still uncertain whether Ohio State will be able to host any fans at all for football games this season, and Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine indicated Tuesday that he wouldn't be ready yet to sign off on any plans for fans in the Shoe this year.
“It’s too early, frankly, to determine what is safe. It’s too early to determine whether putting over 20,000 people at Ohio Stadium is really a safe thing or not,” DeWine said. “It’s OK to plan. I think planning is good. But whether it’s 20% or 10% or something else, I don’t think we know at this point in time.
“What I think we always have to be concerned with when we’re talking about any kind of sport, particularly a big sport ... it’s not just what happens inside the ballpark or inside the stadium. I have every confidence that these great professional teams and Ohio State, they can figure out where to seat people and keep them safe at some level – I don’t know what that level is, but at some level. But the real concern is what happens before, what’s the ingress, egress, what are all the other things that go along with having that many people in one site. Even though that’s a big place, it’s still 20,000 people, 10,000 people or whatever number we end up deciding upon.
“We sure hope we have football in the fall. We sure hope we have school in the fall. Hope our kids can play Friday night football in the fall and run cross country and do other things. But it’s too early. We cannot tell.”