Hours before the kickoff of Ohio State University's home football game on Saturday, the tow trucks will have come and gone.

Hours before the kickoff of Ohio State University's home football game on Saturday, the tow trucks will have come and gone.

Several wreckers arrive on campus before every home game to clear parking lots reserved for university donors who have season parking permits.

"Every year, we post signs saying that those lots will be towed at 5 a.m. on game days," said Beth Snoke, director of transportation and parking at the university. "We do that regardless of what time the kickoff is."

Last week, when Ohio State hosted Wisconsin in a night game, the trucks left with 37 vehicles. The last time they hauled that many away was when the Badgers visited two years ago and the trucks hauled off 43 cars.

The number of vehicles towed varies from game to game, sometimes being none. In the past three seasons, 318 cars have been towed, including 79 so far this season.

Those who don't heed the signs face a $90 citation. About half goes to the OSU transportation department, with the other half going to the towing company. Owners retrieve their vehicles from OSU police at Blankenship Hall, near Woody Hayes Drive and Kenny Road.

The university contracted with Camcar Towing, 2360 Wood Ave., for the work this year.

Along with signs warning that cars will be towed, OSU also sends an official the night before to patrol the reserved parking lots.

"He just drives around all night chasing people out of the lots," Snoke said.

The reserved parking lots contain about 6,500 spaces for people with football-season parking permits. The lots include those immediately surrounding Ohio Stadium.

Columbus police also remove cars on streets near campus that are off-limits on home-game days, said Lt. Karl Barth of the special-events bureau.

Towing from private property, such as apartment complexes and shopping centers, is at the discretion of property owners, said OSU Police Chief Paul Denton.

cbinkley@dispatch.com