By Jessica Bruha
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — The University of Oklahoma athletics department announced some policy changes at the Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium on Friday afternoon, as well as alternative routes fans may want to consider to get to the games on time.
Lindy Roberts, assistant athletic director for events and facilities, talked about some of those new policies, as well as different ways to get to Owen Field in a more timely manner. The first OU football game is set for 6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 31.
Some of the policy changes included:
· All women’s purses must be smaller than 10 inches by 10 inches.
· Only clear, empty water bottles will be allowed in for drinking water.
· No seat cushions or chair backs will be allowed in, but seat backs still will be available to rent.
· No bags with merchandise will be allowed in, even if the bag is clear
· No bags, backpacks, string backpacks or fanny packs will be allowed in
Roberts said these changes have been made to keep fans and the football team safer in the stadium, keep fans comfortable and prevent people from tripping or falling over large purses and help security be more efficient in getting people into the stadium.
For those wanting seat cushions, fans can reserve those online ahead of time at the Sooner Sports website, soonersports.com. Roberts said one of the reasons for nixing the cushions and chair backs is because some may have storage spaces in them that are difficult for security to check. Also, they are made and built with a certain type of material that has been made with certain devices.
She talked briefly about the bombing incident in Boston, as well as events across the nation that they are trying to avoid by implementing these new policies.
Roberts also wanted to remind fans that express lanes at every gate will be open on game days for those who are not carrying a purse. The quicker fans are able to get into the stadium, the happier they are, she said.
Items that still will be allowed in the stadium include approved medical devices and approved family care items such as diapers and formula in a bag that is 10 inches by 10 inches or smaller.
While some people have said OU’s stadium policies are “over the top,” Roberts said they’d rather be over the top and proactive to keep everyone safe.
Some other items to remember to leave in the car or at home include umbrellas, baby strollers or seats, professional cameras, banners or signs and food and beverages. For a complete list of items not allowed in the stadium, visit the Sooner Sports website.
Alternative routes: Another thing fans should think about is making an alternative route to get to home games with Interstate 35 construction slowing traffic way down. Roberts advised that fans leave earlier than they normally would to make it on time for kickoff.
If you typically leave an hour early, leave two hours early, she said.
Some exits Roberts advised fans to take if they are southbound include Exit 112 onto Flood Avenue, Exit 113 onto Tecumseh Road or taking Sooner Road to Lindsey Street.
Those traveling northbound were advised to exit onto State Highway 9.
Another thing to consider is construction around the university’s South Oval area. Roberts said they will be shutting down roads around the stadium about four and a half hours prior to kickoff.
The roads that will be shut down include Asp Avenue to Jenkins Avenue and Lindsey Street up until Elm Avenue and Jenkins Avenue.
Getting stuck in traffic can be frustrating for anyone, so make sure you have a game plan for game day and an alternative route planned just in case. Allowing more time could cut out any frustration, and if fans arrive early, Roberts encouraged them to stop somewhere on Campus Corner and get a bite to eat.
For a complete fan guide, including a list of all of the stadium policies, a game day travel map or a stadium map, visit soonersports.com.