Ohio State Buckeyes: No band, no cheerleaders, no Brutus at home games this season

Five days before the 2020 season opener for the Ohio State Buckeyes, the OSU athletic department announced a number of measures it hopes will lead to a successful season — one not affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Ohio State marching band won’t perform Saturday when the Buckeyes play Nebraska at noon at Ohio Stadium or at any home games this year, Ohio State announced Monday, and there will be no cheerleaders either. Even Brutus Buckeye will not appear at Ohio Stadium.

There will be no on-field ceremonies honoring past players or teams, and there will be no Skull Session at St. John Arena or pregame walk by the team to the stadium. The team won’t stay at a hotel on the night before the game. The players will take a bus to Ohio Stadium.

Ohio State reminded fans tailgating will not be allowed anywhere on campus. It wants fans to watch the game at home and hopes fans don’t attend large watch parties.

“COVID-19 cases are rising, including in Ohio," Ohio State Athletic Director Gene Smith said, "and we can’t have our games become virus-spreading events. So we’re sincerely asking our fans to avoid large watch parties, don’t come onto campus because there’s no tailgating anyway, and enjoy watching the Buckeyes with family or limited numbers of friends because, this year, every game is a home game.”

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Ohio State also announced a campaign that will include safety messages on digital kiosks on and near campus. A social media effort that will include videos by Smith, players and others will remind fans to practice social distancing and safe hygiene.

“Our goal is to create a safe environment for all with well-thought out guidelines in place,” Smith said in a press release. “We are also working to find ways for our fans to enjoy our great traditions and game day experiences – even if it means doing so in new ways. Our fans are engaged in our ‘fan cutouts’ opportunity to have their photos in the stands, and we’ll be bringing the excitement of game day in Ohio Stadium to their phones with our second-screen stream which will feature some live moments inside the stadium.”

While Ohio Stadium can fit 102,780 fans, the capacity this year will be limited to 1,600. That number includes everyone from players to concession workers to TV broadcasters.

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The Big Ten is not allowing fans at games this season with the exception of the family members of players and coaches. Ohio State will have up to 656 player and coaching family guests, and the visiting team can have up to 400.

Fans will be spaced apart across 10 A deck seating sections. They will have to wear masks at all times.

The number of media members will also be limited. There will be 40 credentialed media in the press box and 22 photographers shooting from the AA deck.

Everyone in the stadium will hear pre-recorded crowd noise over the loudspeakers. The volume will stay at 70 decibels and can increase to 90 during moments of celebration for the Buckeyes.

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