Navy football implements "clear-bag" policy for 2019 season

By BROOKS DUBOSE | The Capital, Annapolis, Md. | Published: August 29, 2019

(Tribune News Service) — Navy football is implementing a “clear-bag” policy for the 2019 season following a growing trend to increase security at college and professional sports stadiums across the country, and the first 20,000 attendees will receive free bags.

Starting with the Midshipmen’s season-opener against Holy Cross on Saturday, only clear bags, no larger than 12 inches by 12 inches by 6 inches, and small purses, no larger than 4.5 inches by 6.5 inches, will be permitted inside Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium during football games.

The first 20,000 people at Saturday’s game will receive a clear Navy-branded bag at the gate. Fans who arrive late or those planning to attend future games can use similarly sized clear bags or gallon ziplock bags, said Bill Givens, associate athletic director for operations and championships. Pallets of the bags have been stashed at the stadium before Saturday’s game.

The new policy aims to keep attendees safe while still making games “family friendly” and allows security personnel to complete their inspections more quickly and easily, Givens said.

“We want to take care of all our patrons but make sure it’s a safe and secure environment,” he said.

The new policy also forbids items such as backpacks, computer bags, purses, fanny packs, briefcases, tote bags, and binocular and camera cases, according to the team’s website.

Other forbidden items include: firearms, bottles (glass or plastic), cans, thermoses, coolers, alcoholic beverages, outside food or drink, large bags, folding chairs, umbrellas, professional cameras and tripods, noisemakers, hanging banners/signs/sticks, chains, illegal substances, laser pointers, clothing containing vulgar language, large strollers, fireworks, aerosol cans, pets, pepper spray, and any item deemed by management to be dangerous or inappropriate.

Anyone who arrives at the stadium with these items will be turned away.

Items permitted in the stadium include blankets, seat cushions, umbrella strollers and video cameras. Diaper bags and items needed for medical reasons are also allowed, but will still be inspected by stadium security staff, Givens said.

The policy follows a slew of major college programs that have implemented similar changes in recent years. The University of Maryland announced a clear-bag policy for its football and basketball games in 2016. The NFL has had a similar policy since 2013.

Some Navy fans may already be familiar with the policy if they’ve attended road games or Army-Navy games in the past, Givens said, and the policy has been in place during the last two Military Bowls at the Annapolis Stadium.

“It’s become commonplace at major sporting events. The time was now,” he said. “It just makes sense that we follow suit and implement it here for the next level of security.”

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