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Ohio State requiring wristbands for Beat Michigan Mirror Lake jump

Despite a long standing insistence that the event is not university sanctioned, in an apparent effort to improve safety, the Office of Student Life seems to be heavily regulating Mirror Lake participation this year.

The map outlines the entrance and exit points for the jump.
The map outlines the entrance and exit points for the jump.

In a release sent out to students, Ohio State outlined a somewhat radical new plan to try and improve safety regulations surrounding the annual Mirror Lake jump. For much of the previous two decades, the jump took place on the Thursday before the Michigan game. After the game was moved to Thanksgiving weekend more recently, the informal annual event was shifted to the Tuesday before Thanksgiving as most students would be home from Thanksgiving and away from campus on that Thursday.

Ohio State discourages individuals from jumping (the forecast for Tuesday night outlines a low of 26 degrees with a 40% change of snow) but outlined the requirement for a wristband in order to participate as well as a gated entrance and exit for the campus area near Mirror Lake:

We are aware that some of you may be planning to jump into Mirror Lake that evening. We do not encourage you to jump, especially due to the extreme cold temperatures that are expected. However, the wellbeing of Ohio State students is our top priority and we will take efforts to make sure this activity is managed in a way that maintains appropriate levels of safety and security. If you do choose to jump, please keep the following in mind:

- Alcohol significantly affects judgment and reaction and accelerates the effects of hypothermia.  I suggest that you do not drink.

- Mirror Lake is as deep as 8-feet in some areas, so take special care to stay within the designated jump area.

- Use the buddy system, and make a plan for arriving and walking home in a group.

In an effort to best ensure that Mirror Lake is a safe feature on our campus, we will add a number of enhanced safety and security measures for this activity.  Access will be granted to those with Beat Michigan wrist bands (available at the Ohio Union as detailed above) beginning at 6:30 p.m. through one designated entry point and there will be several exit points.  Wrist bands are needed even for those who are only watching.  Students who are incapacitated and unable to care for themselves may not be granted entry.

In the release, the university also outlined that the wristbands would be available beginning today (Sunday, 11/24) at 11 a.m. and would be able to be picked up anytime during Ohio Union operating hours through Tuesday. A valid BuckID is required to get a wristband, and only one per BuckID will be issued.

Mirror Lake annually presents a number of potential health concerns ranging from cold exposure in years with weather as unforgiving as this one's to the wide range of effects related to the over consumption of alcohol. For an event the university shies from affiliating itself with, this certainly looks like a case of oversight and regulation previously unheard of in the long standing jump's tradition.