Ryan Field to institute new clear bag policy starting this year

Khadrice Rollins, Summer Editor

The athletic department announced on Monday that only clear bags will be permitted into Ryan Field starting this year.

Starting with Northwestern’s home-opener against Western Michigan on Sept. 3, only bags that are 12 inches by 6 inches by 12 inches, one gallon plastic bags or small clutch bags no larger than 4.5 inches by 6.5 inches will be allowed into the stadium. Backpacks, oversized tote bags, fanny packs and even clear backpacks will no longer be permitted.

Additionally, fans can no longer bring seat cushions with pockets, zippers or backs, but seat cushions without rigid frames or compartments will be allowed. The list of items that are permitted into the stadium will remain the same as the list from last year.

“While incidents have been avoided in the past, a great majority of security calls on gameday have to do with contraband items in the stadium, which we anticipate this new policy will alleviate,” a spokesman for the athletic department said in an email to The Daily.

This new policy was “developed in close consultation” with University Police over the past few months, the email said. The email also said the change was a compromise of the “no bag” policies that have been instituted at various college and professional arenas, and it was a “proactive” measure to help eliminate the possibility of a major security incident.

The athletic department hopes this new policy will make it quicker for fans to get into the stadium on gameday, as bag searches take more time than any other procedure happening at the entry gates.

For the game on Sept. 3, there will be a free bag check inside Welsh-Ryan Arena for any fans who brought a bag that is no longer allowed in Ryan Field, and the athletic department will be handing out free compliant bags outside of the stadium.

There will be special exceptions to the policy for those with medical equipment, but those fans will have to go to one of the Guest Service gates (Gates R and E) to have their bag searched.

“At first, there will be an adjustment for both our fans and our staff,” the spokesman said in the email. “The primary motivator was safety and security, which is something we will continue to monitor, evaluate and adjust in future seasons.”

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