Gene Smith: Ohio State Planning On Having Full Football Stadiums With Tailgating This Fall

By Colin Hass-Hill on July 6, 2021 at 5:44 pm
Ohio Stadium

Saturdays in the fall are getting back to normal in Columbus.

Gene Smith, Ohio State's athletic director, told 10TV's Dom Tiberi to plan to see Ohio Stadium filled up this fall.

"We're going all the way live," Smith said in an interview with 10TV on Tuesday. "We're tailgating. We don't see any change in what we had prior to COVID. Now, we're hopeful that we don't end up in a situation where we have a huge spike as a result of the Delta variants. But right now, we're all the way live. We're a full stadium, full tailgating, full nine yards."

Smith said he thinks it'll be "really refreshing" for everybody to see the Shoe at full capacity on Sept. 11 when the Buckeyes open the season against Oregon.

Momentum for this decision had long been building with numerous college football programs – including several in the Big Ten – already announcing their intention to have 100 percent capacity. In May, Smith had said he had "confidence" in Ohio State being able to host full crowds, though he wasn't quite ready to make any final calls. He said at the time to expect an announcement "somewhere in the early August time frame," though evidently he saw no need to continue waiting.

The season opener against Minnesota will also come in front of a capacity crowd.

When the Ohio State-Oregon game kicks off, it'll be the first Buckeye football game played at home in front of a packed house since they beat Penn State, 28-17, inside Ohio Stadium on Nov. 23, 2019.

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