Ohio State social distancing models show potential for 20,000 fans

Paola Ditto
Mag 23, 2020

"Can we come up with a national solution where we have standards and protocols where everybody operates and implements wherever we go, I think it can be done", Smith said.

"One of the things is we're constantly getting educated about the virus and this disease", Smith said during a almost hour-long teleconference Wednesday afternoon.

Smith added that the Buckeyes will allow voluntary workouts to start June 8, if approved by administrators at the Columbus, Ohio, university. However, a few hurdles remain before that plan becomes a reality.

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. Other sports will be finalized at a later date. "We want to continue making sure that they're in the safest environment possible, and that's what we feel we can provide". "That's one of the things with this process, you constantly get educated".

According to Smith, Ohio State would limit capacity "south of 30,000, probably between 20 and 22 (thousand)".

Smith said along with utilizing the adjoining Schumaker Complex, he believes close to 50 athletes could have access to the facilities on a given day.

Though each person who enters the two facilities would not be required to undergo a COVID-19 test, plenty of other measures would be in place.

"I struggled with it at the beginning, but as I've continued to have conversations, I'm becoming more comfortable with that if that is where we end up", Smith stated, adding that he is "optimistic" that a stadium with no fans won't be the case. "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". From a logistical standpoint, it would be easier for his program to only play a conference schedule, Smith said. "We feel, with the protocols we will have in place in regards to symptom checks, the cleanliness of the facility and with the (equipment) we can offer, this is the best-protected environment".

At this point, only football players would be coming back to begin preparations.

Smith went on to say he's unsure if he would even agree to host OR this season and return the visit to Eugene in 2021 because it would mean Ohio State would have fewer than seven home games next season.

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