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Ohio State Cancels Spring Football Game, Restricts Fans For Sporting Events

Ohio State Marching Band and Alumni Marching Band Members perform Script Ohio at an Ohio State football game.
Thomas Bradley

Ohio State has canceled its annual spring football game, which was set for April 11 at Ohio Stadium, due to the spread of the coronavirus.

The annual spring game is an inter-squad scrimmage that marks the end of the Buckeyes' spring football practices. The game has attracted more than 100,000 fans in previous years.

The decision came hours after Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine says he will issue a public order limiting mass gatherings as part of a state effort to stop the spread of coronavirus.

Coronavirus In Ohio: Live Coverage

The University of Michigan also canceled its spring football game on Wednesday. 

OSU is also closing all athletic events to the public through the remainder of the academic year, according to Ohio State Athletics Department spokesman Jerry Emig. Immediate family members, team coaches and staff, event staff and media members will be allowed to attend the competitions.

Fans who purchased tickets for the spring game and other OSU sporting events can receive a refund.

Ohio State football coach Ryan Day announced that the team is suspending all on-campus official and unoffcial recruiting visits through April 20. He also said football coaches will not make off-campus recruiting trips in accordance with the university's temporary travel restrictions in response to the coronavirus.

Also on Wednesday, the NCAA and Big Ten announced that its basketball tournaments will be played without fans. 

The Columbus Blue Jackets will play home games without fans as long as Ohio's order limiting mass gatherings remains in effect. The team has six remaining games in Nationwide Arena.

The NBA was suspended its regular season after a player on the Utah Jazz preliminarily tested positive for the coronavirus.

The Ohio Department of Health makes the following recommendations to protect yourself from illness:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; dry hands with a clean towel or air dry hands. 
  • Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap and water are unavailable. 
  • Cover your mouth with a tissue or sleeve when sneezing or coughing. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands. 
  • Stay home when you are sick. 
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.

Ohio's coronavirus call center is open to answer questions from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. The hotline number is 1-833-4-ASK-ODH or 1-833-427-5634.
This article will be updated with more information as the story develops.

Nick Houser leads the digital media team and oversees all things digital, including wosu.org, digital content, the WOSU Public Media Mobile App, social media, enewsletters, podcasts and on-demand video.