Numerous major college football programs have explained their plans for spring games, with many making adjustments to the events because of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith seems to be biding his time before making a decision.
The Buckeyes have yet to set a date for the spring game, which often draws massive crowds to Ohio Stadium in Columbus. Of course, in 2021, the number of fans would have to be limited, but Smith hasn’t completely ruled out the idea of letting people in. He explained that the university won’t charge for attendance when the time comes and may attempt to provide a unique opportunity for frontline workers.
“My hope is that we’ll have an opportunity to develop a strategy to recognize frontline people — our nurses, our doctors, our custodians, our bus drivers, and all those people who made so many sacrifices for us for a long time now. And of course, obviously, the parents of our student-athletes…” Smith said, via Nathan Baird of Cleveland.com.
So, as of right now, a spring game for the Buckeyes still seems like a possibility, but will come later than normal.
Ohio State will not be selling tickets for this year's spring game, but Gene Smith said he is “optimistic” about fan attendance at Ohio Stadium this fall. https://t.co/lY68bvBFBV
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Ohio State’s decision to try and host a spring game isn’t exactly surprising given the steps taken by other powerhouse programs. Nebraska, Georgia and Alabama are among those planning to welcome in a limited number of fans, while Florida will play its exhibition in front of an empty stadium.
Smith did explain that the Buckeyes will be taking the utmost caution throughout the offseason heading into the fall. By then, he hopes to get fans in the seats of Ohio Stadium, even if it means following “certain protocols.”
“I’m hopeful that those things continue and we have some new normal, whatever that will be in the fall. My assumption is we’ll still have to do a number of different things,” Smith said. “There are certain protocols like wearing masks and things of that nature. But I can’t begin to share what I think capacity allowance will be.”