With the entire University of Wisconsin campus energized about the first home football game of the season, rain may not be the only thing putting a damper on the festivities.
With a recent policy change, umbrellas and other carry-ins such as flags and signs will no longer be allowed inside of Camp Randall Stadium, UW Athletics spokesperson Justin Doherty said.
Besides these restrictions, Doherty said UW urged the games’ attendees to “lighten their load.”
New regulations state whatever fans bring into the stadium needs to fit into a bag no bigger than 8.5 by 11 inches – or the size of a sheet of notebook paper.
“These new policies are not so much a change, but rather a clarification,” Doherty said.
While some students may be in the dark when it comes to these changes, they have actually been in place since October 2009 due to a heightened security alert from the Madison Police Department.
“There was one day last year where students were not allowed to bring in any bag at a point during one of the games,” Doherty said.
Should students violate the policy, Doherty said entrance to the stadium will not be permitted, and a storage space for large bags will not be provided.
Doherty said UW Athletics never planned to accommodate the storing of large bags on site.
All regulations are posted on the UW Athletics website. In addition, students who purchased tickets received a packet detailing the changes. E-mails were also sent out twice as a reminder to ticket-holders, Doherty said.
Nonetheless, some Badger fans said they were not aware of the changes and would not have known before reaching the gates at Camp Randall on Saturday.
“I didn’t buy student tickets, so I never saw this e-mail,” UW junior Brianna Salomacki said. “If I ever bought a ticket from someone for a game and I didn’t know the new rules I would probably bring a tote and get turned away.”
Such a lack of communication seems to be the main issue students noted when dealing with the new carry-in policy.
Doherty said students selling tickets are responsible to inform those who purchase their tickets about the new rules.
Students are encouraged to check the size of their bag with a piece of paper before walking to the stadium on Saturday, because Doherty said security will be doing so at each gate.
That means girls will be leaving their totes at home and bringing small purses or swing-packs. For most boys though, they will not be able to carry in a backpack or cinch-pack, the common alternative to a purse.
“I guess when I go to the game I’ll just have to wear jeans with pockets,” UW senior Dan Perling said. “I will just have my wallet and phone then. I really don’t understand why we can’t bring in cinch-packs though. I can only carry so much on my body.”
While this policy clarification may be inconvenient for some, an express gate has been created for fans with no carry-ins at all.