Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith told Dom Tiberi of 10TV on July 6 that, as expected, Ohio State will be joining many other college football teams in going forward with a plan for full capacity crowds this fall, including pregame tailgating.
“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.”
In speaking to BSB for the annual interview issue, available now, Smith was a bit less definitive but expressed confidence that the Buckeyes would host a full capacity crowd this season.
“I think we should be there. I think it was the Columbus Clippers the other night, had 90 to 100 (percent capacity) in their stadium,” Smith told BSB. “And I know the Columbus Crew is planning their last home game (at Historic Crew Stadium) to be a sellout. I don’t see any reason why we shouldn’t.
“Obviously, we’re in a good spot right now relative to the positivity rate. I’m concerned that our vaccinations are low compared to where we would like them to be. I’m hopeful that we could stay on an upward trajectory toward vaccinations. And hopefully, the COVID-19 variant that has hit our country and is hitting our state doesn’t impact us. I don’t see any reason why we wouldn’t be at full capacity if we stay on this upward trajectory.”
Ohio State won’t host its first home game of the season until Sept. 11 as it opens the season at Minnesota, but that week two matchup against Oregon suddenly looks like one of the hottest tickets of the season, though a Noon kickoff impacts that a bit. The Buckeyes will also host Tulsa and Akron during the non-conference slate, before jumping into a conference home schedule that will see Maryland, Penn State, Purdue and Michigan State.