NORMAN, Okla. The University of Oklahoma will join professional sports leagues and many of its college peers this fall when it introduces a clear bag policy and walk-through metal detectors at home football games and all other home athletic events.
“The safety of everyone in the stadium is paramount to us and that’s the reason we’re implementing these policies,” said OU Vice President and Director of Athletics Joe Castiglione. “These measures have become standard at many sports venues and we have experienced them multiple times as our teams have traveled around the country.
“We have studied these processes for a long period of time and are working to implement these changes as efficiently as possible.”
For football, the new policies will pertain to all patrons and all entrances to Gaylord Family – Oklahoma Memorial Stadium.
The College Football Playoff, several bowl games and 53 major colleges have implemented a clear bag policy. The NFL added the policy in 2013. The policy was in place at each of the last three OU bowl games and the 2017 Big 12 Championship at Arlington.
Clear Bag Policy
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The approved clear plastic bag size is a maximum of 12 inches x 6 inches x 12 inches or a one-gallon clear plastic freezer bag. Even those bags are subject to search, although it is anticipated that search times will decrease significantly.
Stadium policy will allow non-transparent clutch purses that are no larger than 4.5 inches by 6.5 inches. Bags that are necessary for medical equipment will be searched at marked medical lanes at each gate. No other bags or purses including diaper bags will be permitted and the limit on bags is one per person.
Express lanes will remain in place at each gate for those who do not bring bags to the stadium.
“It is still our recommendation that fans not bring bags of any kind to the stadium,” said Michael Beirne, OU Director of Event Management. “If it’s possible to enter the stadium empty-handed, it guarantees a quicker, smoother entrance.”
Other than the bag policy, all other items on the prohibited list remain consistent with the 2017 season.
The metal detectors will be located at each gate. They are similar to those being used at all NFL, MLB and NBA facilities and events. They are also in place at Baylor, Kansas, Kansas State and Texas in the Big 12. The Southeastern Conference has announced it will require detectors at all of its football stadiums beginning with the 2020 season.
A total of 107 detectors will be available at Gaylord Family – Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, which means multiple units will be placed at each entrance. They will be separated from ticket scanning by at least 20 feet to avoid back-ups. OU also will open stadium gates two hours prior to each game, which is 30 minutes earlier than the previous gate-opening time. Suites, clubs and loge boxes will open two-and-one-half hours prior to kickoff.
It is recommended that fans allow extra time for stadium entry.
Fans will empty only cell phones, keys and metal objects larger than keys from their pockets before screening. Medical lanes will be marked around the stadium for fans who require alternate screening methods.
OU made limited use of metal detectors last basketball season at the Lloyd Noble Center in an effort to prepare for expanded use.
“We learned a lot during that time,” Beirne said. “We’ll put that knowledge together with other conversations we’ve had with national security firms and our peers. Our goal is provide the best possible service to our fans with little interruption to their game day experience.”
All bags will be searched upon entry into the facility. Only those items needed for medical or family needs plus empty, clear personal-sized containers suitable for drinking water are permitted.
Any unlawful items are subject to confiscation, and the person in possession of such items is subject to arrest.
Prohibited items must be returned to the owner’s vehicle or discarded. Items left at the gate will be discarded.
Fans not bringing bags or other allowable items into the facility are strongly encouraged to utilize Express Lanes.
- Clear plastic bags (1 per person) no larger than 12″ x 6″ x 12″
- One-gallon clear plastic freezer bags (1 per person)
- Non-transparent clutch purses no larger than 4.5″ x 6.5″ (1 per person)
- Bags necessary for approved medical equipment
- Approved family care items (diapers, formula, etc.) must be included in the clear plastic bag
- EMPTY, clear plastic water bottles less than 17 oz.
- Seat cushions and chair backs smaller than 16″ wide and without frames or armrests
- Alcohol (in all forms)
- Baby seats
- Baby strollers
- Bags, backpacks, fanny packs hard binocular cases
- Beach balls, footballs, balls or other sporting equipment
- Cameras with lenses longer than 6 inches
- Chair backs with frames, armrests and/or wider than 16 inches
- Coolers, containers or ice chests
- Explosives, firearms or weapons
- Folding chairs or stools
- Food or drink
- Laser pointers
- Noisemakers of any type (i.e. air horns, plastic horns, whistles, etc.)
- Personal heaters
- Pets (with the exception of registered service dogs)
- Selfie sticks, GoPros, bi-pods, monopods, etc.
- Umbrellas (per Big 12 Conference)
- Video cameras