COLUMBUS (WCMH) — With no fans being allowed at football games in Ohio Stadium this season, Ohio State is encouraging its supporters to find ways that they can make every game a home game.
The Big Ten decided to not admit fans for games due to the coronavirus pandemic, limiting spectators to a tight group of player and coaching family guests in addition to staff and media. At 102,780-seat Ohio Stadium, for each game there will be about 1,600 people.
The season begins Saturday when Ohio State plays Nebraska at noon.
Ohio State has offered guidelines and is making pregame hype videos available to all for its games this season. It wants fans to cheer on the Buckeyes — just in small, socially distanced groups.
“We need our students and all fans to watch the games at home and to not have or attend large watch parties,” Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith said. “COVID-19 cases are rising, including in Ohio, and we can’t have our games become virus-spreading events. So we’re sincerely asking our fans to avoid large watch parties, don’t come onto campus because there’s no tailgating anyway, and enjoy watching the Buckeyes with family or limited numbers of friends because, this year, every game is a home game.”
Here are some of the guidelines from Ohio State:
- TBDBITL. The Ohio State Marching Band will not perform at games, nor will it conduct its traditional “skull session” at St. John Arena before games. However, fans can watch newly recorded pregame and halftime performances by the Marching Band on the Scarlet Saturday second-screen stream. Learn more here.
- No tailgating. Tailgating will not be allowed in parking lots or anywhere on Ohio State’s campus. Campus police will be patrolling lots and asking potential tailgaters to leave the premises.
- No Blackwell. No team walk. The football team will not be staying in the Blackwell Hotel on Friday nights before home games because the facility is taking on additional uses this fall. The team’s traditional pregame walk from the Blackwell to St. John Arena to Ohio Stadium will not take place. The Buckeyes will bus to Ohio Stadium.
- Signature games and on-field honors. On-field honors and pageantry will be eliminated from the games. There will not be homecoming, alumni band and alumni cheerleader festivities , nor will past Big Ten championship teams and individual honorees be celebrated.
- Cheerleaders, spirit squad and Brutus Buckeye. Cheer and spirit squad performances, as well as the antics of Brutus Buckeye, will not take place at Ohio Stadium.
However, there will be life-size photos of several thousand fans in A Deck. Fans can purchase photo cutouts of themselves that will remain in the stadium all season. Ohio State reports it has sold more than 4,300 cutouts, which can be purchased here.
And after games, the Buckeyes will continue their tradition of signing Carmen Ohio, and yes, the Victory Bell will still be rung for every Ohio State win.