Watch head coach Ryan Day preview Saturday’s home opener against Youngstown State.
COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – In what many central Ohio fans may consider the most wonderful time of the year, Ohio State Buckeye football returns to Ohio Stadium this Saturday.
Ohio State University Police Division is sharing safety tips with fans before hundreds of thousands of people head to campus for the festivities.
Ohio State Police Chief Kimberly Spears-McNatt said the department prepares for this day all year long, saying there is nothing like the excitement of the opening home game.
“As you know, when you have 100,000 individuals to the stadium or around, it’s all hands on deck, and so everyone realizes why that is important, that mission,” Spears-McNatt said. “We want to cheer on the Buckeyes, we want to win, and so everyone makes sure that we are focused on safety while they are focused on the game.”
She said the department is fully staffed to cover all posts. Plus, there will be assistance from Columbus police and suburban and state agencies.
“We are always focusing on planning and making sure that we are providing a safe environment, a good experience for the best fans in the land,” Spears-McNatt said.
OSUPD said the biggest difference this year will be construction, with Cannon Drive closed at John Herrick.
“That will be a hard closure, so there will be no northbound traffic on Canon Drive, so that means the number of ways people can get to the stadium is limited,” Spears-McNatt said.
Spears-McNatt suggests fans plan ahead and arrive early. They also ask fans to be patient with those working to direct traffic.
Campus businesses like the Varsity Club are also bracing for large crowds.
“Oh, there’s so much to do,” Varsity Club owner Tony Mollica said. “All the permits we have to get and then all the products we have to bring in, all the help we have to hire, so we have about an extra 50 people that work on game days.”
He said game days are always the best days and this is when business is best.
“Being where we are on Lane Avenue, we thrive, too, with all the sports, so we’re just looking forward to getting started,” Mollica said.
OSUPD said they hope this weekend is all about fun, but everyone does it responsibly.
“Just remind them that we are the best fans in the land and that’s how we behave,” Spears-McNatt said.
Another tip before heading to the game: OSUPD said if your ticket is on your phone to download it to your wallet before getting to campus. This will help you get past security and inside the stadium faster.