The university reported an 87% renewal rate from last season despite the coronavirus pandemic and uncertainty about whether there will even be a season.

Citing the impact of the coronavirus pandemic this spring, Ohio State twice extended its deadline for season-ticket holders to renew their seats for the upcoming football season.

The postponement continued until May 29, giving fans an additional two months to re-up for 2020.

The school has sold 44,320 season tickets to donors, faculty members and the general public, a renewal rate of 87%, according to figures obtained by The Dispatch through an open-records request.

It marks a dip from last season, when Ohio State sold 50,868 season tickets to those groups.

But the renewals still give the school one of the country's largest season-ticket bases even with the uncertainty about the state's economic outlook and the fate of the football season.

Ahead of the initial deadline, which had been set for March 27 prior to the pandemic, OSU had sold nearly 35,000 football season-tickets, bringing in more over the following months.

“Our donors continue to be as engaged as ever with the department of athletics, and perhaps even more so,” according to an athletic department statement. “It is abundantly clear that their love for Ohio State teams, coaches and student-athletes is as strong as ever.”

A potential predicament awaits in the fall. It is unknown if all season-ticket holders will be permitted to sit inside Ohio Stadium due to the social distancing guidelines established in the aftermath of the pandemic.

In a statement released Wednesday that mentioned a “hope and intent” to have a football season come September, retiring OSU president Michael V. Drake acknowledged the likelihood of fans being widely spaced in the stands of the Horseshoe.

That would leave crowds well below the stadium's capacity, which stood at 102,780 last season.

During a teleconference with reporters two weeks ago, athletic director Gene Smith said the school was considering social distancing models that would allow them to hold anywhere between 20,000-50,000 fans.

Smith said the school had not then considered how it might sort out the limited availability, though he suggested it could rely on its priority point system, which accounts for years of donations and purchases of season-tickets, as well as status as alumni and varsity letter-winner.

Beyond a base of season-ticket holders, the school last season also sold nearly 22,000 season tickets to students. It also gives tickets to parents and credentials to media members.

Smith has not ruled out the possibility of staging games at 100 percent capacity.

Drake stressed in Wednesday's announcement that “we haven't made any final decisions.”

Ohio State has previously said it would provide fans with refunds for the cost of their tickets if games were impacted, including the cancellation of the season and reduced-capacity crowds.

jkaufman@dispatch.com

@joeyrkaufman