New rules will limit what kinds of bags spectators can bring into University of Wisconsin football games at Camp Randall Stadium starting this season, but the change isn’t as severe as at some other schools.
The athletic department announced Monday a clear-bag policy that mimics one introduced four years ago by the NFL for its venues.
Unlike at NFL stadiums, however, fans entering Camp Randall won’t have to be screened by metal detectors. And the security change doesn’t match the level of three football venues in the Big Ten Conference that have banned bags altogether.
The new Camp Randall policy allows fans to bring in a small clutch purse measuring no larger than 6½ inches by 4½ inches and one large, clear bag.
The clear bag can be either a 1-gallon storage bag or a tote bag measuring 12 inches by 6 inches by 12 inches.
Spectators with children are also allowed to bring in a diaper bag that will be screened by security officers.
Medical items that can’t be carried in a clear bag will be allowed after they are screened and tagged.
“This is, quite honestly, becoming a ‘best practice’ across the country,” said Jason King, UW’s senior associate athletic director for capital projects and operations.
According to UW, the school is the ninth of 14 in the Big Ten to adopt a clear-bag rule.
The Southeastern Conference in March incorporated rules allowing for only clear bags at venues that host its schools’ football games.
In the last calendar year, Badgers fans had to adhere to similar guidelines at three games in NFL stadiums: the 2016 opener against LSU at Green Bay’s Lambeau Field, the Big Ten championship game in Indianapolis and the Cotton Bowl in Arlington, Texas.
One departure between the UW and the NFL is that the latter also requires fans to get screened by metal detectors before entering its games.
UW introduced metal detectors for events at the Kohl Center last October at a cost of around $200,000. An official said at the time that the athletic department was considering the technology for Camp Randall.
King said Monday that metal detection isn’t ruled out for Camp Randall in the future, but UW would have some logistical hurdles to overcome to go to that level of security screening.
“We don’t have a great amount of space in some areas to be able to add what we would need to do there,” King said. “One of the things that we want to try to do is get our fans into the facilities as reasonably quickly as possible. And at the Kohl Center, plain and simple, it’s a little bit better equipped to be able to handle the metal detection than Camp Randall is currently.”
Seat cushions and chairbacks (no wider than 16 inches), jackets, blankets, binoculars and cameras are still allowed in Camp Randall Stadium, although binocular cases and camera bags are forbidden.
The list of prohibited items includes weapons, food and beverages, coolers, strollers, umbrellas, selfie sticks, flags and banners, noisemakers and inflatables.
Badgers season ticket holders will be mailed one free clear tote bag per household next month. The home opener against Utah State is Friday, Sept. 1.
UW officials discussed a more restrictive policy that would have eliminated all bags from being brought into the stadium, King said, but decided against it.
Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State have varying degrees of a no-bag policy for football games, said Daron Jones, UW director of external engagement Daron Jones.
“It’s even easier to enforce something like that because you have zero bags,” King said. “The checking becomes very minimal. But we just felt like the right thing to do was to go with the clear bag so that we would give our fans an option.
“It’ll still speed up the entrance at our gates. There will still be some checking that needs to obviously take place. But the ability to visually see what’s in a bag makes the process a lot smoother,” King said.