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Column: Ohio State dropped the ball by not requiring vaccination proof or negative test at Ohio Stadium this fall

After announcing that students, faculty, and staff needed to be vaccinated by Nov. 15, Ohio State curiously isn’t requiring vaccinations for fans at Ohio Stadium this fall.

Ohio State Spring Game Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

On the heels of Ohio State announcing that students, faculty, and staff would have to be fully vaccinated by Nov. 15, the university dropped the ball by refusing to make either vaccinations or a negative COVID-19 test a requirement for those attending football games at Ohio Stadium this fall. Instead, Ohio State will have 100,000 fans pack Ohio Stadium this fall for seven games, and the only thing that fans will have to do is adhere to an indoor mask policy.

I know that we are all sick of talking about COVID-19 and dealing with everything to try and slow the spread of the disease. Would I like to never have to think about wearing a mask again in my life? Absolutely. The problem is, too many of us aren’t doing enough. The delta variant is ripping through Columbus and the rest of Ohio, with it being clear who is most affected by the more contagious strain of COVID-19 — the unvaccinated.

Not to say that there aren’t plenty of people around the state and country who have done their part. I was vaccinated as soon as my age group opened up. Many others I know did the same, have worn masks when required, and kept their in-person contact with others limited. Earlier this week, Ryan Day said that around 90% of the football team has been vaccinated, so the vaccination mandate should have very little effect on the team since so many have already elected to trust science and get vaccinated.

Looking at the state of Ohio as a whole, we should be doing a lot better. As of Wednesday, 52% of the population has received at least one dose of the vaccine, while 47.9% are fully vaccinated. Those numbers aren’t high enough, especially as we continue to see COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations around the state rising. Those numbers are only going to get worse as we head towards the fall and we move more activities back indoors, unless we see an uptick of vaccinations around the state.

Instead, some people are going to extreme lengths to try and avoid getting vaccinated. Even going so far as to use horse dewormer. I was vaccinated with the Moderna vaccine on April 1st and received the second dose four weeks later. I had a day or two of feeling just some light flu-like symptoms with both doses, but it was anything that interrupted my day-to-day life. Also, my 5G reception has been outstanding, and I can’t wait to see what it’s like inside Ohio Stadium this fall.

Earlier this week, LSU announced they were requiring proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test no more than 72 hours prior to a game for fans 12 or older to attend LSU games this fall. Yes, that same LSU that saw a booster rip off a cancer charity is willing to keep unvaccinated fans out of the stadium this year. Why Ohio State can’t make the same decision is beyond me.

I saw plenty of skeptics of LSU’s decision saying there won’t be any fans in the stands in Baton Rouge this year. Tiger Stadium will definitely be full throughout LSU’s home schedule. If anything, LSU’s policy might make some Tiger fans make a decision about getting vaccinated that they wouldn’t have before. While LSU’s new policy might not sit well with some fans, the amount of good it will do will far outweigh what the critics have to say.

That’s why I was surprised that Ohio State refused to make vaccinations or a negative PCR test mandatory for Buckeye games this fall, especially after making it mandatory for students, faculty, and staff. In a state that is seeing vaccination numbers lag, why not make people make a tough decision? Nobody says that it is a person’s right to be able to attend Ohio State games. If you can’t follow the rules, then you shouldn’t be allowed to do some. Like MLB reliever Sean Doolittle said last year: “Sports are a reward for a functioning society”.

I’m sure that some people aren’t going to be happy with me siding with science and urging people to get the vaccine. I know, I should just STICK TO SPORTS. It’s well beyond that at this point. I’m sick of Twitter user @JerryPatriot8595012845 telling me that he saw some Facebook video that the vaccine makes you bald and sterile. That’s a chance I’ll take while you inject bleach and chug down horse dewormer.

While things are going to seem like they are “back to normal” since Ohio Stadium will be at full capacity this fall and we won’t have a shortened college football season, we still have a lot of work to do. The more tough choices Ohio State has to force people to make, the better, since that’s about where we are at right now. The longer this thing hangs around, the more variants we’ll see, and the more susceptible even the vaccinated will become to contracting the virus. Speed is key here and we are truly moving at Big Ten speed around Ohio right now.

No matter what your decision is when it comes to either getting the vaccine or trusting some crazy conspiracy theory, at least we can agree on one thing. Go Bucks!