Ohio State is modeling a concept that would allow about one-fifth of Ohio Stadium to be occupied during home football games for the 2020 season. Athletic director Gene Smith made the announcement during a Wednesday conference call with media.
"We have played a little bit with the social distancing concept," Smith said. "We know that will probably take us down south of 30,000 fans in the stands, actually closer to 20,000-22,000. We've played with that a little bit as a framework to start."
At a capacity of more than 102,000 fans, Ohio Stadium is the third-largest college football venue in the country. Smith had previously noted that the Buckeyes' athletic department could lose as much as $50 million if Ohio Stadium opened without fans for an entire seven-game home season.
Since then, Smith has been able to consider Ohio State's options to fill the stadium with a limited audience. Previously, Miami Dolphins CEO and president Tom Garfinkel said his franchise was looking at a social distancing model that would allow a maximum of 15,000 fans in the 65,000-seat Hard Rock Stadium.