UNA’s move to Division I changed the way athletics operate. Football games now require attendees to use clear, university approved bags to bring items into the stadium during games.
The school implemented this policy upon the start of home football games. These bags were handed out freely to UNA students with an active Mane card the week before the first home game against Azusa Pacific.
“NCAA specifically is striving to get more and more schools to implement this policy because it creates a safer environment for the fans,” said director of game operations and facilities Kyle Conkle. “The functionality of the game is of utmost importance, so we’re responsible and liable for the product we put out. One of the ways we protect ourselves is by risk management and analyzing different avenues that pose potential risks.”
SportsInformation announced the policy and their website states security prohibits all except for the following “Bags that are clear plastic, vinyl or PVC and do not exceed 12” x 12” x 6”, One-gallon clear plastic freezer bags (Ziploc bags or similar), small “clutch” purses, no larger than 4 1/2” by 6 1/2”, with or without a handle or strap can be taken into the stadium in addition to the approved clear plastic bags, seat cushions with no pockets and small diaper bags with the accompaniment of a child.”
Conkle said the school adopted this policy to operate more like other Division I institutions and their safety procedures. The official announcement states this decision will hopefully decrease waiting times and help maintain a safe and secure environment for students, spectators and players.
“In the society we live in today, there’s a lot of unknown factors,” Conkle said. “We felt that it was necessary at this point in time to make the transition to the ‘clear bag’ policy, simply from the standpoint that this is a transition time before we are full-fledged into the Big South conference. This was really the year to do that. We just felt confident that giving our fans the opportunity to get accustomed to it this year was really doing our due-diligence to the Big South and NCAA as we move forward.”
Conkle added, to his knowledge, there are no current plans to expand or add to current safety procedures and restrictions in the coming year.