Attendance at Ohio State home football games will be capped at 20 percent if games are played this season, the university announced Tuesday. The restrictions placed on football at Ohio Stadium will also include a tailgating ban, limited concessions, a mask-requirement and physical distancing in the stadium.
"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 OSU athletic department said in a message to ticket holders on Tuesday.
A 20 percent capacity crowd at the nearly 105,000-seat stadium would still allow for roughly 21,000 fans to enter the venue. Ohio State plans to accommodate as many season-ticket holders as possible, according to its announcement, which noted that doing so "will require limiting the quantity of season tickets for each ticket holder."
The announcement of Ohio State's restrictions came after Dr. Anthony Fauci, one of the nation's top experts on infectious diseases, said Tuesday morning that Ohio and other states in the region could be poised for a rise in coronavirus cases as they deal with increasing positivity rates from testing. Ohio governor Mike DeWine also noted that the ultimate determination on if any fans are in the stands may not come until closer to the season's scheduled beginning.
"It's too early, frankly, to determine what is safe," DeWine said. "It's too early to determine whether putting over 20,000 people at Ohio Stadium is really a safe thing or not."
But under the plan Ohio State laid out Tuesday, season ticket holders who opt out of attending games in 2020 will retain full-season ticket eligibility and will have the option to receive refunds, credit toward future ticket purchases or they can donate their ticket payments to support athlete scholarships.
"We understand not all fans will feel comfortable attending games for health and safety reasons, or may not be interested in attending due to reduced capacity guidelines," stated Ohio State's message to season-ticket holders. "Therefore, we are allowing all season ticket holders to opt out of their 2020 football season tickets commitment without longevity or eligibility penalty, if they wish."