By Madeline Sneed
The opening of McLane Stadium will bring with it several changes to the game day experience meant to increase fan safety, according to a press release by Baylor Athletics.
Policies once common at Floyd Casey Stadium, such as re-entry into games after leaving, will no longer be allowed in order to create a more secure environment.
“It’s simply a safety issue,” said Nick Joos, executive associate athletic director for external affairs. “All NFL teams, Big 12 teams and college teams nationally have gone to a no re-entry policy.”
Ian McCaw, vice president and director of athletics, said in a press release that while several other policies have changed as well, they are all with the safety of fans in mind.
Also, in conjuncture with the university-wide ban on tobacco products, smoking will not be permitted at the stadium which is an extension of the campus.
Fans with purses will have to limit their size to no larger than 12 inches long, 6 inches wide and 12 inches high, and no backpacks will be allowed. According to the release, national security officials identified backpacks as a risk at sporting events in large complexes like McLane Stadium.
“Again, it’s a safety issue,” Joos said. “We are ensuring the safest possible environment. Nothing can be thrown on the field or worse.”
Other banned items are non-IMG portable chair-back seats because of the inconsistency in their sizes that leads to chair-backs overlapping onto other visitors’ seats. As an alternative, fans may rent IMG chair-backs designed especially for McLane Stadium seats at BUBearChairs.com where they are rented out for $45 a season.
Former Big 12 regulations seen at Floyd Casey, such as the banning of artificial noisemakers and video cameras, will continue to be in place.
Brad Wigtil, interim police chief of the Baylor Police Department, said outside the stadium security measures will also be increased.
“A lot more cameras are in the new stadium, which helps us quickly assess what’s going on,” Wigtil said. “Not just fights or anything like that, but we can see if the lines are getting too long and what’s going on in the parking lot.”
Additionally, SkyWatch, a mobile observation platform, will be on a trailer in the parking lot that elevates up to 20 feet high for maximum coverage, Wigtil said.
“It gives us the ability to watch tailgating and the parking lot during the pregame, as well as during the game when fans leave their tailgating stuff in the parking lot,” Wigtil said. “It’ll be a real visible thing.”
A complete list of changes to stadium policies can be found at www.baylorbears.com/gameday.