Just days after a judge’s decision appeared to spell a death sentence for Hineygate, the popular Lane Avenue football party has been granted a stay of execution — but not a full pardon.

Ohio State reached an agreement in principle with the owners of the Thirsty “I” bar, the site of Hineygate. The agreement, which should be signed this week, would allow the bar to continue operations until the end of 2009, Ohio State spokeswoman Shelly Hoffman said. 

This will likely mean the return of Hineygate for the last three home games of OSU’s football season, which radio station WTVN has hosted on Lane Avenue since 1984. The agreement could also mean a temporary sigh of relief from the party’s fans, many of whom called and e-mailed WTVN. 

Partygoers were “very dismayed that their 26-year old tradition may be going by the wayside,” WTVN Program Director Mike Elliott said. “The fact that this has become part of the fabric of game-day tradition and then to see it go away was very troubling to our listeners.” 

Beyond this football season, the future of Hineygate is unknown.

“Right now, I’m focused on this season and keeping it alive,” Elliott said.

The future of the Thirsty “I” is also uncertain. OSU does not have a timeline for determining its fate but is looking for a productive use of the property, Hoffman said.

The bar’s owner, Wendell’s Alumni Grille, fell behind on rent payments to OSU in December, and OSU evicted Wendell’s in April. Following a lawsuit, a judge granted OSU control of the property last week.