NORMAN — University of Oklahoma President David Boren announced Friday that the rules governing what the fans could bring into the stadium last year, which allowed purses of reasonable size and seat cushions, will continue to be allowed, subject to reasonable inspection at the gates.
The changes in the rules recently announced will not be in effect for Saturday’s game, while they undergo further review. The university does not want to unduly inconvenience fans, Boren said.
The policies announced earlier included a 10-by-10 inch rule for women’s purses and no outside cushions or bags with merchandise allowed inside the stadium. Backpacks, string backpacks or fannypacks were also prohibited under the previous rules.
Meanwhile, Norman and OU Police as well as Oklahoma Highway Patrol officers are urging motorists to leave home early in order to keep from meeting an expected traffic gridlock on the way to the Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium.
Traffic on I-35 will be slowed at the Canadian River Bridge. Crews are busy adding lanes on both north and southbound sides of the bridge.
For southbound travel. police encourage fans to take Exit 112 onto Flood Avenue, which is a left exit, or Exit 113 onto Tecumseh Road.
Norman police and city of Norman Traffic Management have developed alternate routes for southbound traffic from these two exits to access the stadium area.
Officers will provide traffic control assistance along areas of the suggested routes beginning three hours prior to kickoff.
For fans wanting to steer clear of I-35, police said Western Avenue or 60th Avenue Northwest has been widened to four lanes into Norman to Tecumseh Road.
Another option is to take Sooner Road or 12th Avenue Northeast to Lindsey Street.
For Northbound travelers, officials encourage State Highway 9 or Lindsey Street.
OU officials also said they will shut down roads around the stadium about four and a half hours prior to the 6 p.m. kickoff. Roads that will be shut down include Lindsey Street betweenl Elm Avenue and Jenkins.
Fans also should plan for hot weather during this year’s opening season game Saturday. According to the National Weather Service, it will be sunny and hot, and temperatures are predicted to reach a high near 100 degrees.
The heat index is predicted to stick around the 90s during kickoff at 6 p.m. and start dropping into the high 80s around 10 p.m. Saturday night’s temperatures are expected to reach a low around 74 degrees.
In other game day news:
— Sooner Fan Fest, beginning at 2:30 p.m., returns for Saturday’s home opener. It is located in the Rhyne Hall parking lot off Jenkins Avenue.
Fans can take photos with OU mascots Boomer and Sooner as well as meet Jep and Jessica Robertson of the TV series “Duck Dynasty.”
To satisfy that big game day appetite, food and drinks will be available for purchase from vendors including Rib Crib, Ghengis Grill and Kingfisher Cookers.
— Lower 40, an Oklahoma band with the upcoming single “Call Me Crazy,” will perform on the visitnorman.com sound stage. Other activities include interactive booths provided by GMC, Clearsight and AT&T, to name a few, as well as the chance to win an autographed football by Bob Stoops.
All Fan Fest activities will conclude with a traditional spirited pep rally featuring The Pride of Oklahoma, OU Spirit, pom and mascots. The pep rally will begin at 5 p.m.
— David Stanley Chevrolet is continuing the dealership’s Junior Captain of the game at OU home games this season.
Kids age six to 12 can go to David Stanley's website, Facebook page or local store and sign up. A winner is drawn for each home game, and they get all the swag listed below.
Winners receive tickets for four to the next home game, sideline passes for an adult and child, an autographed Bob Stoops football and a Sooners jersey to wear to the game.
The winner is also featured in a Sooner Vision video board feature during the coin toss and gets to go on the field for the coin toss with the Sooner Captains.