Unfortunately, in the world we live in today, stadiums pose an attractive target for extremists and it seems like they are being targeted more and more overseas. It only makes sense to acknowledge the potential risk here at home, and take some preventative measures. The NFL instituted a clear bag policy in 2013, and now West Virginia is following suit.
“Fan safety and enjoyment is a top priority for us,” athletic director Shane Lyons said in a statement. “Unfortunately in light of recent events around the country and the world, we believe it is necessary to take additional steps to ensure fan safety. The NFL has been a leader with the clear bag policy program and it has produced positive results in professional and collegiate athletic venues.
“We know that change is sometimes hard, but we did not make this decision to inconvenience our fans. Quite the opposite, we made this decision to protect our fans.”
The new policy will go into effect this fall, and season ticket holders will be provided with an approved WVU branded bag. If you are planning on attending a Mountaineer game, here is what you need to know: Basically any bag larger than a clutch-sized (or hand-sized) purse is prohibited. However, any medically necessary items will be allowed. If you need to bring a bag with you, your options are limited. WVU recommends using a 1 gallon-sized Ziploc bag.
“The Clear Bag Policy at our home games will enhance our ability to increase the safety and security of our fans,” WVU Chief of Police Bob Roberts said. “We know that in today’s world, we must strive to reduce the risks associated with large gatherings and the WVU Police Department considers this policy an important step in helping us to protect our fans.”
It is an understandable policy, and as someone who attends quite a bit of games, I appreciate the proactive step. However, the NFL’s policy received a lot of backlash from the fans, and those opposed to the new policy will point out that stadium attacks overseas tend to target the comings and goings of the fans. The actual attack tends to occur just outside of the stadium, as large groups of people are exiting. A clear bag policy does little to prevent such an attack. It also does little to protect those tailgating outside of the stadium.
Regardless of how you feel about a policy, if you are going to a game this season, be observant. If something seems odd or out of place, say something.