Let graduating students watch the Championship game at the Shoe 1/11
For graduating students at The Ohio State University, their last year of college has been disappointing due to COVID restrictions. While OSU has done an excellent job of keeping students safe and healthy, there is no denying that the campus community has lacked some safe school spirit. Students and staff at OSU have respected the guidelines put in place by healthcare officials- contributing to OSU having lower COVID rates than most Big 10 or SEC schools, despite its size.
According to the Columbus Dispatch, ESPN, and several other sources, President Johnson cites state covid guidelines as the reason for not allowing students in the stadium, unlike the SEC. There is no doubt that Gov. DeWine’s COVID restrictions have helped Ohio communities and they should continue to be followed 100%.
Ohio State should allow graduating students to watch the Championship game from inside of Ohio Stadium on January 11th. Currently, Ohio stores and businesses are allowed a limited maximum of 20% of their usual capacity with masking and social distance required. There are 10,000 undergraduate graduating seniors and over 100,000 seats in the shoe, which would fill less than 10% of the expansive outdoor space. Decreasing this number further, in 2019 only 21,000 student football tickets sold suggests limited interest in what students would come to suggested event to an estimated maximum of 5,000 students, well below the 6,000 students allowed in the Alabama v ND game yesterday. Students could easily socially distance and wear a mask- just like attending classes. Harvard University’s Football COVID tracker does not show a statistically significant increase in cases or hotspots from students attending football games. The New Yorker, NPR, and many other publications have released similar data and concluded that if done wisely, allowing limited attendance at games can be a safe source of joy.
Now more than ever, it is important to strengthen the Ohio State community. Graduating seniors are currently job searching, trying to find a beginning to their careers in the worst economy since 2009. Many business are not only not hiring, but are shutting down. Seniors have contributed to campus culture and showed school sprit for all of OSUs sports teams for the past 3.5 years. Allowing them to have one last Buckeye experience while they are still students would let them to celebrate their university in a familiar way in their first ever championship game as students.