Sept. 9, 2010
UI further refines efforts to improve the Hawkeye game day experience
As the Hawkeye football team launched its 2010 campaign with a decisive victory last Saturday before more than 70,000 loyal fans, the University of Iowa launched a much-publicized effort to step up enforcement of laws pertaining to public safety -- particularly with regard to illegal and irresponsible use of alcohol in and around Kinnick Stadium.
In response to feedback and internal review of how this effort played out during the season opener, the university plans to make some protocol refinements prior to this Saturday’s home game versus Iowa State. The focus of the adjustments relates to gate security checks and working toward a more fan-friendly approach for those who are tailgating responsibly.
There will also be an adjustment made to future 11 a.m. games that will allow a longer post-game tailgate opportunity -- a change that will not affect this week’s 2:30 p.m. kickoff.
"We know that 95 percent of fans attending Hawkeye games act responsibly, and we greatly appreciate that,” said Gary Barta, director of athletics. “As we make adjustments that take into account the feedback of these valued fans, our goals entering the season remain the same: reduce over-the-top alcohol abuse practiced by some, and maintain the best tailgate environment in the country.
“We made some mistakes last Saturday,” he added. “I’m grateful that the university as a group rolled up our collective sleeves and worked hard to make adjustments and improvements leading into this Saturday. We’ll need everyone’s help to try to achieve these goals.”
This week, the university has reviewed in detail how staff and law enforcement officers, who work diligently in the interest of preserving public safety and property in the parking areas and at stadium gates, are expected to carry out a commitment to addressing the negative behaviors that take place on game days. While socially unacceptable and illegal behaviors will continue to be targeted, some important modifications have been identified.
Gate-security adjustments include increasing the number of people conducting bag inspections at every entry point. Those who choose to carry purses and bags still will be required to show these items for thorough inspection at the gate -- a critical security measure that has been implemented at sporting venues nationwide -- but they should experience less delay in entering the stadium.
In addition, on the far left side of every gate will be an express lane to accommodate fans who enter the stadium without purses, bags or other containers that require inspection. This should further reduce the wait time to pass through stadium gates, particularly for those who enter without any personal items.
University officials and law enforcement officers also offer the following gate security reminders and recommendations for fans attending the game:
--Patrons should arrive as early as possible to avoid any delays entering the stadium. Gates open 90 minutes prior to kickoff.
--Fans are discouraged from bringing bags, purses and other containers into Kinnick Stadium. All bags will be thoroughly inspected at every gate, which delays access to the stadium. Bags larger than 8 1/2-by-11 inches in size will not be permitted.
--Any liquids or foods brought into the stadium, including water bottles, are subject to inspection at stadium gates. Sealed clear water bottles will continue to be permitted, but will be inspected to be certain they have not been opened. Water bottles are limited to one 32-ounce bottle per person, and food is limited to a one gallon bag per person.
In another adjustment that only will affect future games beginning at 11 a.m., the university has decided to increase the time permitted for post-game tailgating from two to three hours following the emptying of Kinnick Stadium. Alcohol consumption and open containers would not be permitted during the final hour of this extended post-game tailgate period, which would be intended to provide ample time for fans to break down tailgate parties and begin to make their exit from university parking areas.
The two-hour, post-game tailgating rule will remain in place this week, as well as for all future games that begin in the afternoon, and tailgating is not permitted at all following games that kick off in the evening. The additional time to tailgate prior to afternoon and evening games, in addition to safety concerns related to darkness after the game, provide the reasoning for this decision.
Fans are again reminded of the following tailgating guidelines, which are being strictly enforced this year:
--Open alcoholic beverages must be consumed within parking areas, and cannot be taken outside of parking areas -- including on public streets and sidewalks.
--Possession or consumption of hard liquor is not permitted in university parking areas or on public streets and sidewalks.
--Law enforcement will continue to conduct vehicle safety checkpoints at various locations around Iowa City, as announced each week by UI Police.
STORY SOURCE: University News Service, 300 Plaza Centre One, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500