Game days in Norman will kick off a little differently this year. The OU athletics department has been looking at safety measures taken inside stadiums across the country. Now, Sooner fans must have a clear bag for all of their game day essentials.
“How do we get everybody in in the most efficient and economical way possible? And that was not only having the metal detectors, but also then having the clear bags to be more efficient and to be consistent across the board with not only football but all of our events for all of our sooner fans,” says Michael Bierne, OU’s Director of Event Management & Operations.
With the announcement coming two weeks before the first home game, the clear bag policy has sent sooner fans scrambling to claim a clear bag of their own.
All NFL stadiums are required to have a clear bag policy. With Oklahoma Memorial Stadium seating more than 86,000 people, Bierne says OU would like to keep up with the NFL’s model of security.
“The fans, like I said, have been this far very excited that we’re doing it. Like I said, the world we live in demands it but, you know, there are going to be folks that aren’t happy. There are going to be folks that it does cause some extra steps on game day but the hope is that after game one or game two we can really, you know, get people comfortable with those policies and get them used to doing this and it makes it easier for them,” says Bierne.
OU tried out metal detectors this spring at basketball and gymnastics events. Bierne says the response was positive, giving them the confidence to utilize the system at all athletic events.
“It does cost a lot of money for each unit. Each unit is give or take a few thousand dollars a piece, but when you look at the time and the energy that it saves on both staff and consistency on game day that comes out as really negligible.”
OU joins 8 other big 12 schools taking part in the new safety measures. They hope that it will not only enhance fan safety but expedite entry to events as well.