Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith said Wednesday that social-distancing modeling done by the school shows that at least 22,000 fans could watch football games this fall, roughly one-fifth the capacity of Ohio Stadium.
In a conference call with reporters, Smith said that the university has “played a little bit” with the concept of social distancing and that Ohio Stadium could support up to 40,000-50,000 fans, if guidelines are loosened. The stadium boasts a seating capacity of 102,780.
“We’re fortunate, with 100,000 seats in the stadium,” Smith told reporters. “So could we implement the current CDC guidelines, state guidelines around physical distancing, mask requirements and all those types of things in an outdoor environment and have obviously significantly less fans than we are used to?
“I think it’s possible. I just feel like we have the talent and skill and space capacity to provide an opportunity for a certain number of fans to have access to our particular stadium.”
Smith said Tuesday that football players would be allowed back to the athletic complex June 8 for voluntary workouts, with strict guidelines in place.
“Student-athletes will have to sign up and go through protocols, such as temperature checks and things of that nature,” Smith said, according to The Lantern, Ohio State’s student newspaper. “Basically an X number of players will work out, around nine or 10, and then once they disappear, the room will be cleaned for the next group to come in.”
The NCAA’s moratorium of on-campus activities will be lifted on June 1 for football as well as men’s and women’s basketball, the NCAA Division I Council ruled on Wednesday.