A history lesson on Ohio State football's Spring Game

Scot Kirk

Central Ohioans love the spring season. And who wouldn’t? Spring marks the return of warmer weather, flowers in bloom and sunshine.

Ask Buckeye fans and they might say the most exciting thing about this time of year is the annual Ohio State Spring Game. That’s because for nearly 90 years, Ohio State University's Spring Game (originally called “Reds vs. Whites”) has marked the conclusion of the spring practice season for the football team.

>> Photos: The Ohio State Spring game throughout the years

Aside from providing a prime opportunity for the players to practice playing in front of spectators, the game also gives coaches a chance to decide how the team will take shape the following season. Coaches (and fans) will pay particular attention to who will fill critical starter positions like quarterback, kicker and running back. The Spring Game also gives freshmen players a chance to shine and attempt to impress the team’s coaches.

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The first Spring Game took place in 1931 and has been played every year since, with a couple exceptions during World War II and in 1990, when the playing field at Ohio Stadium was being converted back to sod from artificial turf, and team injuries limited the number of players available.

Ohio Stadium isn’t the only place where the Spring Game has been played. Other locations on campus that have hosted the Spring Game include practice fields and the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. In 2000 and 2001 the Spring Game was played at Crew Stadium.

Spring Game attendance in 2016 topped 100,189. Until the 1990s the tickets were free to anyone. Now general admission tickets costs $5, with a limited number of club seats selling for $15.

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