Like most Americans, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine is still uncertain if there will be college football this fall amid the coronavirus. However, he is keeping his hopes up and staying optimistic by renewing his Ohio State football season tickets.
“The one thing we’ve found about this virus is there’s a lot we don’t know about it. We’re going to have to respect for it,” DeWine told the Toledo Blade of the pandemic’s future. “I would certainly think they could figure out how to [have a college football] season. Can we go watch them? I think it’s much too early to be making that [decision].”
The NBA, NHL and MLS remain suspended while the MLB is floating a plan to its players that calls for a condensed, 82-game season without spectators beginning in July. NASCAR, UFC and the PGA Tour have laid out plans to return without any fans either. But football fans are hoping that timing is on their side to witness games in the stands this fall.
NFL officials are hopeful to stage a full 17-week season with fans, though they are prepared to make modifications if need be. Sufficient testing of the players will be a crucial factor in putting teams on the field, Dr. Anthony Fauci said this week. Fauci also said it could be feasible for some fans to be in stadiums depending on the nature of the virus months from now. The Miami Dolphins have laid out safety plans that illustrate how fans may be able to attend safely as football fans are fired up for the season.
However, the outlook for Ohio State and other college teams taking the field is much grayer. NCAA President Mark Emmert said that in order to resume college sports, campuses need to be reopened for their fall semesters. Holding a fall sports season may vary by conference as well, with Emmert stating that some conferences may begin competition before others depending on their community. The NCAA also outlined the phased return for ”resocialization” of student athletes, which monitors facets of the virus’ spread before allowing in-person interactions among athletes and coaches and the use of common spaces such as gyms.
DeWine was one of the nation’s first governors to call for restrictions on mass gatherings at the onset of COVID-19 in the U.S. Ohio has since logged over 20,000 cases and more than 1,000 deaths.