Game day at Ohio State is going to look quite a bit different this year because of all of the CoVID-19 protocols that are being put in place. The Buckeyes are hosting four home games this fall, but there are no general ticket sales available. In fact, a maximum of 1,600 people are allowed in the stadium - a number that includes (public safety, staff, concessions, Red Coats, fans, teams, officials, game management, TV network, etc.).
Here is what you need to know about Ohio State football games this fall.
The previously mentioned 1,600 people includes roughly 1,000 fans. Those fans are split up between Ohio State and the visiting team. Each visiting team will have 400 tickets for the parents and families of players and coaches. Ohio State's players and coaches have access to four tickets per person, which is slightly more than 600 total tickets.
Fans will be separated into pods of two, three and four and those pods will be separated by all appropriate social distancing guidelines.
HEALTH AND SAFETY PROTOCOLS
Every person that is inside the stadium is required to wear a facial covering. All media, game day employees, network TV production crew and facility and operations staff will be required to take a symptoms check, including a temperature assessment, before being cleared to enter Ohio Stadium.
Ohio State has enacted strict regulations to have a "clean playing field", as described by university president Kristina Johnson. Only people that are "Tier I or Tier II for CoVID-19 testing" or people affiliated with network TV or production crews will have field access during the game.
People designated as Tier I are CoVID tested six days per week, while Tier II folks are tested twice per week on Friday and Saturday mornings. All on-field TV personnel are considered Tier II and are subject to that testing.
Photographers and videographers will not have field access this year. Only 22 of them will be credentialed for this season. They will shoot from AA Deck and the top of A deck.
SMALL CROWD, BUT STILL NOISY
Perhaps the most noticeable difference at games this year (aside from roughly only 1,000 people watching the game inside a stadium that seats over 100,000) is that The Best Damn Band In The Land will not be on site this season. Cheerleaders, spirit squad members, even Brutus Buckeye will not be allowed in the stadium.
On-field honors and pageantry will be eliminated from the games as well. There will not be Homecoming, alumni band and alumni cheerleader festivities at games this year, nor will past Big Ten championship teams and individual honorees be celebrated.
That said, the Big Ten has provided each school with an audio recording with crowd noise. The noise is permitted to play at 70 decibels during the game and it may not exceed 90 decibels during celebratory moments for the home team.
Even though the band won't be playing in person, Ohio State has put together an alternate broadcast which they are calling Scarlet Saturday that will be live-streamed during the games. In an effort to still give fans the chance to experience some of the traditions most closely associated with Ohio State football, the Buckeyes' athletic department has created a live-streamed, second-screen experience from inside the Shoe that fans can enjoy from home. Part of this experience will include band performances, a chance to submit your photos from home, a Buckeye Zoom room and the ability to purchase scoreboard messages that you can see on the live-stream.
NO TAILGATING OUTSIDE THE STADIUM
There will be no tailgating, no Skull Session at St. John Arena and no walk over from the Blackwell Inn. The team will primarily warm up and go through its pregame activities over at the Woody Hayes Athletic Complex and they will bus to the stadium across the street. Ohio State campus police officers will be patrolling the parking lots around the stadiums and will be asking people that are tailgating to disperse.