- Brian Bennett, ESPN Staff Writer
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Ohio State is in discussions to play its 2013 spring game at Cincinnati's Paul Brown Stadium, which is a move born out of both necessity and strategy.
The Horseshoe is getting a slight makeover next spring, which includes stripping and replacing old coating off concrete that wasn't upgraded during a 1998-2001 project. Workers will start sand and water blasting in December and do resurfacing in the spring and summer months.
So the Buckeyes needed a new place to play their spring game, which is always wildly popular with fans. They had the nation's largest crowd for a spring game this year, as 81,112 turned out for the beginning of the Urban Meyer era. Ohio State holds the all-time spring game record, with more than 95,000 fans in 2009.
Paul Brown Stadium seats just a little more than 65,500, so some fans may be turned away if the spring game moves there. But the move would also put the Buckeyes right in the heart of a talent-rich recruiting area that hasn't been as flush for them as one would expect in the last several years. Meyer has already made inroads in Cincinnati and made a shrewd hire in defensive backs coach Kerry Coombs, who has strong ties to the city. The spring game could be a great way for Cincinnati high school players to get an up-close demonstration of Buckeye Nation.
“We are very appreciative to be in discussions with the Cincinnati Bengals,” athletic director Gene Smith said in a statement. “We look forward to continuing our discussions and look forward to an opportunity to bring the Buckeyes into Cincinnati and closer to our Southern Ohio fans.”
The deal isn't finalized yet, but this could be a two-birds, one-stone type of decision for Ohio State.
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