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Sure, there was a football game, but 6-year-old Mekhia Lampkins was there to see Brutus Buckeye.
She was one of many little Buckeye fans who accompanied their parents to Ohio State's annual spring game yesterday, an event whose $5 tickets meant that almost anyone could afford to go.
"You can bring the whole family," said Mike Lampkins, 30, Mekhia's dad. They were in a group of 15 family members and friends who drove up from Portsmouth.
It turned out to be a near-perfect day to sit outside, sunny with temperatures in the 70s. More than 60,000 people showed up to watch the exhibition, in which the Buckeyes played against each other.
For parents, the game was a chance to give kids a taste of college football, without the cost and intensity of a regular-season game.
"This is more of a family day," said Erin Davis, 34, of Tiffin. "It's low-key."
On Friday, Ohio State cut ticket prices to $5. Before, they had been $12 for advance sales and were going to be $20 at the gate. People who paid the higher price had the option of getting partial refunds or letting the difference be donated to charity.
During the regular season, tickets sell for at least $79. And that doesn't include parking, which was free yesterday.
"If we have to leave early, it's less of a punch in the gut pricewise," said Mary Satterfield, 30, of Sunbury, who was there with her husband and two children.
Her son Bronson, 7, had this to say before the game: "It's going to be really cool, and I'm going to be really excited."
Kaley Wolleson, 4, posed next to a life-size picture of Brutus, the Buckeyes mascot. As was true of many of the young spectators, this was her first visit to Ohio Stadium.
"She watches the games every Saturday, and we cheer," said Kaley's grandmother Betty Timmons, 67, of Mansfield. They made the drive with a group of friends and relatives.
The low ticket price also gave die-hard fans an opportunity to convert their spouses.
"I'm hoping she'll want to go to games in the future," said Eric Carrion, 30, of Powell.
His wife, Nicole, 28, was aware of this but doubted it would work.
"I'm not really a sports fan," she said.
April 13, 2014