KU implementing clear-bag policy at sporting events in 2017

KU fans lined up early while waiting for the doors to open at Allen Fieldhouse prior to the basketball teams’ Late Night in the Phog event in October. | Rich Sugg | rsugg@kcstar.com

By Jesse Newell jnewell@kcstar.com

Kansas’ athletic department is adopting a clear-bag policy for all ticketed sporting events starting this fall, associate athletic director Jim Marchiony said Wednesday.

Previously, security personnel checked bags at each entrance to ensure they were safe. Now, any bag or container bigger than one’s hand will have to be made of see-through material.

The change comes following a Kansas Board of Regents vote that allowed guns to be banned at campus sporting events with more than 5,000 people. KU Athletics will be adding metal detectors at each football and men’s basketball game, which is a safety measure but also one that could potentially slow down access to the arena.

The new rule, then, could help alleviate some potential backup by eliminating bag searches.

“The focus will be keeping everyone safe and making entry as expeditious as possible,” Marchiony said. “The clear-bag policy will be a large part of that. That will help things considerably once we get all these plans formulated.”

Many other teams already have a similar policy in place, including Kansas State, Nebraska and the Kansas City Chiefs.

KU will be trying to spread the word on the new rules over the next few months, which includes plans to inform fans of the changes during select-a-seat sessions that take place with season-ticket holders.

“Hopefully a lot of people are already used to it — maybe not at KU — but those same fans have gone to other sporting events where this policy is in place,” Marchiony said. “Hopefully there won’t be too big of a learning curve.”

Marchiony said the cost of the metal detectors for KU Athletics “could be $1 million with all the equipment involved,” with more conversations expected on the topic in upcoming days. There’s also a possibility that there will be fewer entrances available at both Memorial Stadium and Allen Fieldhouse now that a metal detector will be required at each entrance.

“We’re discussing that right now,” Marchiony said. “Those plans aren’t settled yet but will be soon.”

In the end, Marchiony said the decision to require clear bags was made with both security and efficiency in mind.

“It wasn’t a debate at all. It was, ‘We ought to do this.’ We just agreed,” Marchiony said. “Major sporting events are doing this more and more.”

Jesse Newell: 816-234-4759, @jessenewell

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