KU security measures successful at first football game, official says

Security crew members check tickets as attendants enter through metal detectors prior to Kansas football's kickoff against Southeast Missouri on Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017 at Memorial Stadium.

With the start of the Kansas football season on Saturday, fans got their first look at the university’s new security protocols for large sporting events.

Prior to the season’s start, KU added 70 portable metal detectors and seven new entry points for home games at Memorial Stadium. Jim Marchiony, KU associate athletic director for public affairs, said the new security measures went smoothly.

“We think the system works very well,” Marchiony said.

A Kansas fan zips up her clear plastic bag after moving through metal detectors prior to kickoff against Southeast Missouri on Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017 at Memorial Stadium.

KU Athletics installed the new measures as a means of complying with the Kansas Personal and Family Protection Act that went into effect July 1. The law requires state universities to permit concealed handguns on campus but allows exceptions when adequate security measures, including metal detectors and guards, are in place to ensure that no guns are brought inside a facility.

Marchiony said the new policies caused some delay and extended lines, but staff was successful directing fans to gates with shorter waiting times.

“I don’t think very many people, if any, missed the kickoff,” he said.

Marchiony said his department will have discussions throughout the week to figure out if any changes will improve the process for next Saturday, when KU faces Central Michigan at 3 p.m. He said the biggest possible obstacle might be fans getting overconfident about how smooth the process was the first time.

“I think the reason it worked so well, to a large degree, is fans arrived early,” he said.

As the Journal-World has previously reported, KU Athletics has instituted a clear bag policy. Bags brought into the stadium must be made of clear plastic, vinyl or PVC, and must not exceed 12-by-6-by-12 inches. The only nonclear bags permitted in the facility are clutch bags no larger than 5.5-by-8.5 inches.

Marchiony said the vast majority of fans were prepared for the policy and there were only a few instances in which individuals were turned away for having a prohibited bag.