COLUMBUS (WCMH) — It’s the biggest game of the season: the Buckeyes making it to the National Championship game.
It’s a match up that would normally have the Ohio State University buzzing with excitement
This year, it’s a little different because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The University is echoing a message they’ve had all season long: Make every game a home game, meaning enjoy it from home.
Many on campus are sticking with that, especially since it’s the first day of classes, which are all online, and spring move-in isn’t for another week.
“I am so locked in for tonight, I can’t focus on anything else,” said OSU senior Jack Hendrix. “There is zero cheer, there is just focus.”
There is also a big focus on staying safe. The university is urging people to keep the game day celebrations small: advising people to hang out with direct family or roommates while following mitigation measures like masks and social distancing.
“And we know that people would rather gather with their friends, they’d rather be in the stadium,” OSU spokesperson Ben Johnson said. “Many of our fans wish they could be making the trip to Miami. It’s just not possible this year. It’s more important to stay safe and stay healthy.”
OSU Police will be patrolling campus and working with other law enforcement agencies if necessary, reminding students about the state’s 10 p.m. curfew and the University’s health and safety requirements on and off campus.
“Me and my roommate are just going watch it up in my apartment and have a good time,” Hendrix said. “I think it’s an exciting time to be a Buckeye and it’s an exciting season. It’s obviously different, but we’ll be supportive just as we were at the game.”
One student, however, has different plans Monday night.
“No, I’m not going to watch the game just because school started today and I’m going to work hard on that,” said OSU student Sophia Yu.
The university is urging people to celebrate together on social media using hashtags like #GOBuckeyes and #TogetherAsBuckeyes.
“And that’s important not because it allows you to follow your friends and other members of the community in social media, but because it’s the truth,” Johnson said. “We can only do this together.”
OSU student Nathan Gorbach said social media is where you’ll see all the action.
“It will be all over social media,” he said. “Everyone’s going to be sending videos to each other, going nuts. It’s going to be a great game.”
The Ohio State University Police Department issued the following statement Monday:
OSUPD will be patrolling campus and coordinating with other law enforcement agencies as needed. All are encouraged to watch and celebrate responsibly at home. This year, because of the pandemic, every game is a home game. Masks, physical distancing, hand-hygiene, and safe “homegating” remain critical. As a reminder, a public health advisory remains in effect, and the 10 p.m. statewide curfew has been extended through Jan. 23. All Ohio State students must follow the university’s health and safety requirements, on and off-campus. Go Buckeyes!