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Ohio State to limit capacity inside the Horseshoe to 20% if the season is played

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Ohio State will limit home crowds to about 20,000 and prohibit tailgating if the football season is played this fall.

Fans inside Ohio Stadium will be required to wear masks and observe social distancing to help stem the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. Concessions will be limited.

The traditional “Skull Session” pregame pep rallies at St. John’s Arena will not be held.

Athletic director Gene Smith informed season-ticket holders of the new rules in a letter Tuesday, first reported by Cleveland.com.  From that report:

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 letter read.

According to the letter, face coverings will be mandatory for all fans in attendance, and physical distancing will be implemented. Tailgating will not be allowed.

The guidelines limit capacity of the 105,000-seat stadium to 20%.

Ohio State announces resumption of voluntary workouts after COVID-19-related suspension last week

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After a brief hiccup, Ohio State is back to prepping for whatever the 2020 college football season will hold.

July 8, Ohio State announced that it was putting a halt to all voluntary on-campus workouts that had commenced the month before.  The pause was due to “the results of its most recent COVID-19 testing of student-athletes.”

Tuesday, however, Ohio State announced that its student-athletes, including football players, are now permitted to resume the workouts.  The school noted in its release that “[a]ll student-athletes from the seven sports that returned last month to voluntary workouts were tested Monday, and the results were received today.  The last round of testing was July 7 resulting in the suspension July 8.”

The school did not give the specifics of the tests that were most recently taken, citing the individual medical privacy of the athletes.

“Our Buckeyes are excited to be headed into a new school year and were disappointed last week when we had to temporarily suspend training,” OSU athletic director Gene Smith said in a statement. “These young people come from across the nation and the world to be part of our Ohio State family, and we do everything we can to create a safe, healthy environment so that they have a chance to study and compete.  Our medical team will continue to evaluate, and we will share our decisions as we move forward.”

Ohio State had been scheduled to open the 2020 season at home against Bowling Green Sept. 5.  However, the Big Ten announced this month that its league members will be going to a conference-only schedule for fall sports.

SEC commissioner Greg Sankey warns ‘we are running out of time’ as decisions in the sport loom

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It just means more… angst when it comes to a 2020 season, especially when it comes to the SEC and the boss who will help decide if there is football this fall.

This past week, after the Big Ten’s decision to go conference-only games, both that league’s commissioner and one of its most powerful athletic directors sounded the alarm for an upcoming season. “We may not have a college football season in the Big Ten,” Kevin Warren warned. “ can’t reiterate enough the fact that we might not play. We just might not,” Gene Smith stated.

The SEC is expected to make its decision later this month on whether, like the Big Ten, to go to a conference-only schedule for football.  Ahead of that, Greg Sankey stated during an interview that the sport “is running out of time.” And blasted the politicizing of safety in the midst of the pandemic.

“We put a medical advisory group together in early April with the question, ‘What do we have to do to get back to activity?’ and they’ve been a big part of the conversation,” Sankey said by way of ESPN.com. “But the direct reality is not good and the notion that we’ve politicized medical guidance of distancing, and breathing masks, and hand sanitization, ventilation of being outside, being careful where you are in buildings. There’s some very clear advice about — you can’t mitigate and eliminate every risk, but how do you minimize the risk? … We are running out of time to correct and get things right, and as a society we owe it to each other to be as healthy as we can be.”

The Pac-12 has already joined the Big Ten in going conference-only for the fall.  The ACC announced it will make a decision in late July.  The Big 12 is expected to have such a timeline as well.

Big Ten commish, Ohio State AD decidedly pessimistic on B1G having a 2020 college football season

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The Big Ten toppled the first significant domino earlier in the day.  Now, two of the most powerful men in the conference are expounding on the development.  And, if you’re a fan of the sport, you might want to close your eyes when reading the next few paragraphs.  Or take several shots of an adult beverage before proceeding.

Thursday afternoon, the Big Ten confirmed reports that it will be going with a conference-only football schedule for the 2020 season.  All other fall sports are impacted in the same way.

In television appearances following the announcement, the B1G’s commissioner didn’t put a positive spin on football’s immediate future.

“One thing we have to realize is that this is not a fait accompli that we’re going to have sports in the fall,” Kevin Warren flatly stated. “We may not have sports in the fall, we may not have a college football season in the Big Ten. …

“We made a vow early on that, first and foremost, we would put the health, the safety and the wellness of our student-athletes at the center of all of our decisions.

Gene Smith was equally pessimistic.

“I can’t reiterate enough the fact that we might not play,” the Ohio State athletic director said in discussing football in 2020. “We just might not, and I think people need to understand that.”

It’s expected that other Power Five conferences will follow the lead of the Big Ten.  In the coming days, both the ACC and Pac-12 will most likely announce a conference-only football schedule.  The lone exception will be the ACC including Notre Dame, which already has six games against the conference on its 2020 slate, in any revamped schedule.

The Big 12 and SEC are widely expected to kick the scheduling can down the road a bit longer, perhaps as late as the end of July.  In the end, however, both of those Power Fives are likely to come to the same scheduling conclusion.