Archive for Saturday, August 26, 2017

As football season approaches, a reminder on KU Athletics’ new security policies

August 26, 2017

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Next week brings the start of a new football season at the University of Kansas — and with it ramped-up security measures meant to keep fans safe in the wake of a new law allowing concealed carry of weapons on campus.

The news that KU would install metal detectors and security guards at football and men’s basketball games — as well as ban purses at all ticketed sporting events — came in April, when KU received formal Kansas Board of Regents approval to ban guns from games at Memorial Stadium and Allen Fieldhouse. But with the football team’s first home game on Sept. 2, KU Athletics officials want to make sure visitors understand the new policies.

“I think the number-one message that we would give our fans is that they should arrive early,” said Jim Marchiony, associate athletic director for public affairs.

If you’d prefer not to miss kickoff, he added, make sure to enter the stadium gates (which open to the general public 90 minutes before) a bit earlier than you would normally.

On the KU campus, metal detectors and guards will be stationed primarily at football and men’s basketball games, but also at any sporting event expected to draw more than 5,000 people. While Kansas law requires state universities to permit concealed handguns on campus, it also allows exceptions for facilities where adequate security measures — such as metal detectors and guards — are in place to ensure no guns are brought inside.

To that end, KU is putting in place approximately 65 portable metal detectors around Memorial Stadium, and also is adding at least seven entry points in an effort to make the process as efficient as possible. The same design will be used at all home games, Marchiony said, with metal detectors being installed and then taken down each time.

The entire south end of the stadium has been reconfigured, essentially, as a “concourse” with entry to the southeast and southwest. For years, only “Touchdown Club” members were allowed entry through the stadium’s south side.

Starting next week, that end of Memorial Stadium will have seven gates, with two dedicated as express lanes meant to expedite the process for those not carrying bags. The stadium’s north side will have six gates, though KU Athletics officials are still trying to work out how many will become express lanes.

“You just walk right in and walk through the metal detector and get your ticket scanned and be on your way,” said Brad Nachtigal, associate athletic director for operations and capital projects.

Nachtigal and his colleagues are strongly encouraging fans to avoid bringing bags of any kind to KU Athletics events. Starting this fall, any nonclear bag larger than 8.5-by-5.5 inches (about the size of a small clutch or pocketbook) will be prohibited. Bags must be clear, plastic, vinyl or PVC, and should not exceed 12-by-6-by-12 inches. One-gallon clear freezer bags, such as Ziploc brand, are also allowed.

Everything else — including purses, backpacks, fanny packs, camera and binocular cases, chairbacks and diaper bags — is prohibited. Exceptions will be made for medically necessary items after proper inspection by a KU Athletics staffer at the entry gate.

In short, it’s best to travel light and arrive early.

“Obviously we’d like this to go as smoothly and as flawlessly as possible, but with our first-time setup and use of this system and the equipment, and the entry points and gates all changing, we have what we feel is a very solid plan to make the experience best for our fans,” Nachtigal said.

Between the metal detectors, gate reconfiguration, new signage, bulked-up security staff and other new equipment, costs associated with the new policies are approaching $1 million, Marchiony said. KU Athletics is paying for the security measures with funding from its operating budget.

Fortunately for sports fans, the entry process at Memorial Stadium, he said, won’t be all that dissimilar to visiting Kansas City’s Sprint Center, Arrowhead Stadium and Kauffman Stadium. Other universities have had comparable security policies in place for years, Marchiony said.

“This is not a new process for many, many folks,” he said. “It’s just creating an awareness that it’s happening at Memorial Stadium so that folks are going to have to adjust the behavior that they’ve been used to.”

The Jayhawks face off against Southeast Missouri State at 6 p.m. Sept. 2 in Memorial Stadium.

Comments

Laura Wilson 2 months, 3 weeks ago

So, I guess babies aren't welcome anymore at games. Try getting everything a baby needs for three or more hours in a ziploc baggie or a clutch purse.

Real welcoming there to families.

I suggest getting there several hours early because every belt, every metal watch, hell even bra hooks sometimes are going to beep through metal detectors and the lines are going to be long when they have to wand everyone. Very sad we've come to this to go watch a sporting event that should be fun.

Me, I won't be going. Why deal with the hassle and having to dig out a tiny purse and stand in the cold for hours when I can curl up on my couch and watch it in HD?

Charles L. Bloss, Jr. 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Well said, I won't go either. These rules are ridiculous.

Jonathan Becker 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Add one element, Inclement weather - rain, snow, or sleet, and folks with rain gear, umbrellas, tarps and you have a perfect storm.

Scott Callahan 2 months, 3 weeks ago

16 years later, Al-Qaeda is STILL winning...

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 2 months, 3 weeks ago

If you go to any pro sporting event, they have been doing this for awhile. Umbrellas haven't been allowed at Sporting games for awhile. You can bring ponchos. If you get a chance to buy one of the phone pouches, it makes life easier. You can keep your id, a credit card and some money in it. I just pull out my phone and hold it up while they scan me. My husband carries more stuff like keys. He just takes everything out, puts it in his hat, and gets scanned.

People with babies buy bags that are easily checked. In fact, I have a good sized clear bag that I should put up for sale. Bought it at that place on Mass where they sell Kansas stuff, sorry can't remember the name.

This is brought to you by our state government, because they won't allow guns to be banned on campus. So if they want to keep guns out of venues that can get emotional (okay, there isn't a lot to make anyone emotional at a KU football game, I know) or drunk, then they have to do this. Reality in a tea party state. Reality where there are nuts, political or not, allowed to have guns and who want to get their names in the news. That's the US goal nowadays, isn't it? Fame and celebrity whether or not you deserve it.

Mo Meza 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Dorothy. Tha you so much for the information. Very helpfull. Only taking the time to vote and voting for the right people is the only way. RCJ.

Larry Henry 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Sorry but if someone wanted to bring a gun in the past they never would have known. It is not the new gun policy that should be blamed nor the tea party state.

I don't have a real problem with the new policy, the metal detector would catch any metal objects. But no allowing seat backs is ridiculous...is this just a way to force you to rent one? These are really easy to check especially when you have a metal detector.

Besides, if someone wants to harm people none of these measures will stop them as there are thousands of people outside the stadium before and after the game where there is even less security.

Bob Summers 2 months, 3 weeks ago

If KU really cared about safety, all games would be scheduled as away games.

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