As coronavirus vaccinations continue to rise and cases continue to decline, several Big Ten schools have announced that they are aiming for 100% capacity at their football stadiums this fall.
The Ohio State University is one of those schools, aiming to pack the iconic “Horseshoe” full of fans for the start of the 2021 season.
“Our hope is that we are at full capacity for our football games,” Ohio State AD Gene Smith said in a statement. “We will continue to work with our university partners and with Columbus Public Health on all of our safety protocols, including strongly encouraging those who are eligible to get vaccinated.”
According to the school, all events on-campus will now feature exclusively mobile-ticketing, with fans encouraged to use the Ohio State Buckeyes app.
The Buckeyes will open the 2021 season at Minnesota, and will have their home opener on Sept. 11 against Oregon in a non-conference showdown between two of the most successful football programs in the nation.
The Penn State Nittany Lions will also be aiming to have full capacity at Beaver Stadium this fall, with more than 107,000 fans crowding into the iconic venue.
"We are excited to welcome our 107K strong back in Beaver Stadium and full capacity at our other athletics venues this fall with the adjustments in university, local, state and CDC guidance," VP for Intercollegiate Athletics Sandy Barbour said in a statement. "Our fans are a true home field advantage for all of our teams and the 2020-21 season was not the same without them in our venues.”
Tailgating, team arrival ceremonies and other activities will also be brought back for the 2021 season in Happy Valley. Penn State will also transition to fully mobile tickets for the upcoming campaign, the school says.
The Nittany Lions will also play their home opener on Sept. 11, welcoming the Ball State Cardinals to Happy Valley. The following week Penn State will take on Auburn in a nationally televised non-conference game.
The University of Illinois and Northwestern University have not yet made announcements on how many fans will be allowed to attend games this fall, but with the state moving to Phase 5 of its coronavirus mitigation strategy on June 11, the schools could potentially also welcome full capacity at their home fields.