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No Marching Band, Brutus Buckeye At Ohio State Football Games This Fall

Ohio State Marching Band drum major performs at halftime of an Ohio State football game
Kevin Fitzsimons
Ohio State University

There are even more changes coming to Ohio State football games this fall, as the university announced Monday that home games will not include performances from the marching band, cheerleaders or the school's well-known mascot.
The restrictions meant to promote social distancing and limit the spread of coronavirus represent a massive departure for Ohio State, long known for elaborate band performances. Instead, Athletic Director Gene Smith says “the Best Damn Band in the Land” will record performances that will be broadcast on a stadium screen.

In typical seasons, Ohio Stadium has a capacity of 102,780. In 2020, it’s 1,600. That includes players, coaches, stadium staff and TV network personnel.

Last month the Big Ten conference announced plans to revive the postponed season without fans inside stadiums.

Outside the stadium, Smith also wants fans to stay home and avoid tailgating.

“We need our students and all fans to watch the games at home and to not have or attend large watch parties,” Smith said in an emailed statement. “COVID-19 cases are rising, including in Ohio, and we can’t have our games become virus-spreading events. So we’re sincerely asking our fans to avoid large watch parties, don’t come onto campus because there’s no tailgating anyway, and enjoy watching the Buckeyes with family or limited numbers of friends because, this year, every game is a home game.”   

Ohio State University Police Deputy Chief Tracy Hahn says officers will be patrolling campus to break up any unauthorized events. Hahn says students caught violating school policy will be reported to the university for possible discipline.

Other parts of the gameday experience suspended for the 2020 season include the pregame Skull Session at St. John Arena, the team walk from the Blackwell Hotel to the stadium, pregame and halftime honors for previous teams and players, and performances from the team mascot Brutus Buckeye.

Traditions that will continue in 2020 include the team singing Carmen Ohio after games and the ringing of the stadium’s Victory Bell after home wins.


Steve Brown grew up in nearby Richwood, Ohio and now lives there with his wife and sons. He started his journalism career as a weekend board operator at WOSU while majoring in journalism at Ohio State, where he also wrote for the student newspaper The Lantern and co-founded the organization Students for Public Broadcasting.