South Bend, Ind. The University of Notre Dame has adopted a new policy on bags and other items fans can bring into its football stadium on game days. It’s part of the university’s ongoing effort to assure safety and security on campus.
Starting with the 2013 season-opening game Saturday, Aug. 31, Irish fans will no longer be allowed to bring large bags such as totes, duffel bags and backpacks inside the stadium. However, small bags such as purses will be subject to the same inspection by stadium security.
“Especially in the wake of the Boston Marathon on April 15, I think everybody in collegiate and professional sports, anybody with a big venue, has used the opportunity to reexamine their policies,” said Mike Seamon, director of game day operations, “so we've been doing that over the last couple months and we determined what's best for the stadium is to limit the size of bags that we'll allow inside the stadium.”
Before introducing this policy at the 2013 Blue Gold Game, Seamon said fans could bring basically anything that could fit comfortably under their seat without intruding on fellow patrons’ space. The Blue Gold new safety precautions took affect just days before the Boston Marathon bombings, which made the permanent switch all the more prudent.
While Notre Dame has been checking bags for years, Seamon explained, “What Boston reminds you of is that although 99.9 percent of people in the world are great people, you always have to be diligent. So we want to make sure we're checking it for anything that could possibly hurt or harm anyone.”
Security measures go throughout the entire game weekend. Some safety is visible to the public while other aspects are not. Seamon assures visitors that the stadium has never had a security threat and remains constantly vigilant to protect the stadium and the campus.
“Boston proved to us that in a backpack sized bag something could really hurt a lot of people, that's our biggest focus,” said Seamon, that’s why large bags will not be allowed past the gates.
Seamon added, “We know our fans will adapt quickly to the policy, and we appreciate their cooperation in helping to make Notre Dame Stadium as safe as possible.”
University officials benchmarked the bag policies of the National Football League and others in collegiate athletics before amending Notre Dame’s policy.