The Ohio State University Department of Athletics announced Nov. 18 that family members of players and coaching staffs of teams competing this fall will no longer be permitted to attend sporting events.
The decision is immediate, so no family members will be in attendance for the Ohio State-Indiana football game at noon Nov. 21. A limited number of media will be allowed to document the game from the press box, and FOX will televise the game to a national audience, according to the release.
Ohio State's announcement came after Columbus Public Health and Franklin County Public Health issued a stay-at-home advisory, which begins at 6 pm. Nov. 20 and lasts for four weeks.
The decision will be re-evaluated prior to Ohio State’s final home football game of the season, Dec. 12 against the University of Michigan, the department said in the release. The decision not to allow families will stay in place for all Buckeyes men’s and women’s basketball and hockey home games that are either scheduled, or in the process of being scheduled, through the remainder of 2020.
“The health and safety of student-athletes, coaches, spectators and event staff is our top priority,” Gene Smith, director of Athletics, said in the release. “We had hoped to continue to allow family members of our student-athletes and coaching staffs to be able to attend games, but circumstances around this pandemic are prompting us to adjust, just as it has throughout the past eight months. We appreciate everyone’s understanding and we will continue to do what is in the best interests of everyone involved.”
The department said it will continue to work with state and local health officials on protocols and adjustments for hosting events during the pandemic.
Earlier this week, the university said it was encouraging students to go home early for winter break to help de-densify campus populations to slow the spread of COVID-19.