High temperatures caused chaos at Baylor’s first home football game as game-goers crowded concessions to get much-needed water. Temperatures reached 100 degrees Fahrenheit during the Sept. 2 game against Southern Methodist University.
Some students say they were not allowed to bring water into the stadium, and dozens of fans suffered heat-related problems.
James Stefka, director of the East Texas Medical Center Emergency Medical Services, said 65 people at the stadium were treated throughout the course of the game for heat-related issues.
Thomas Hill, the senior associate athletics director for facilities and operations, said the Baylor athletic department has policies in place to control what is brought into Floyd Casey Stadium during games.
“On home games, it’s all decided based on health and temperature,” he said. “This last home game, we did allow water into the stadium. If you came in with a full bottle or a half bottle that was open, we let you bring it in. Typically, during a general game, whether it’s a baseball game or a basketball game, we typically don’t let outside food and drink into the stadium. But during inclement weather, high heat, things like that, we absolutely allow that, and that decision is made on a game by game basis.”
However, several students saidthey were not allowed to bring bottles into the stadium.
“Well, one of my friends tried to bring it in because I was going to the game, and they told her not to bring it in,” Emily Tichenor said.
Tichenor said she wasn’t aware the policy changed on a game-by-game basis.
“They told my friend no, and then she said, ‘What if I empty it? Can I bring it in?’ and they still said no.”
Forney junior Chelsea Cates also said she wasn’t aware of the change in standard policy, and so she didn’t bring any water to the game.
Cates said she went down to one of the concession stands to buy refreshments.
“It was miserable down there. I waited in line forever just to get a hot dog and a bottled water. It was a really long line,” she said.
Hill said precautionary measures are taken at every home game to ensure that alcoholic beverages stay out of the stadium.
“We don’t allow food or drink in for several reasons,” he said. “It could be safety, it can be alcohol related, it can be financial related, it can be a lot of different things. We have bag checkers out at each of the games to look, hopefully. They find quite a bit of alcohol-related items, but it’s nearly an impossible task for someone to not sneak anything in.”
Baylor Police Chief Jim Doak said seven game-goers were arrested during Sunday’s game for public intoxication and seven were ejected from the stadium due to behavioral issues that involved alcohol.
Hill said any changes to the standard policy are communicated to stadium employees by way of radio or through other means.
“The gate supervisor confirmed that we could let students who brought their own water containers in,” he said. “Employees got the information via radio communication, face-to-face or by word of mouth.”
Tichenor said the gate employees did not seem to know about the policy change.
“It might not have been communicated to them, so I don’t want to make them seem like the bad guys,” she said.
Tichenor said she believes water bottles should have been allowed into the stadium.
“I think students should know about this and so should the employees. They should let you bring in your water bottles.”
Doak, who was present at Floyd Casey Stadium during the game, said the heat was unrelenting.
“The sun was brutal,” he said. “The people on the east side got sun from when they came until it went down. The heat was intense. It was relentless.”