UVa Announces Crowd Control Changes
Official Release from Virginiasports.com
Sep 06, 2006
The University of Virginia will implement a series of operational modifications for postgame crowd control at football games this fall in Scott Stadium.
Twenty fans were injured during a rush onto the field following U.Va.'s win over Florida State on Oct. 15, 2005.
In the wake of those events, the University commissioned a study by Event Security Consulting and Operations, Inc. (ESCO), an independent security-consulting firm located in Raleigh, N.C. Following two site visits and a series of interviews with staff and students, ESCO made recommendations to prevent future occurrences.
A University committee reviewed those recommendations, and Craig Littlepage, director of athletics at U.Va., has announced several modifications, including:
- Strict adherence to the Atlantic Coast Conference policy prohibiting fans from entering the playing field before, during, or after games. In the event that fans do enter the field, they will be subject to criminal trespass charges;
- Increased staffing levels for both police and security throughout the games;
- Closer monitoring of fan behavior on the hillside;
- Review of security procedures with visiting administration and coaching staff.
The modifications also address a situation in which the field is breached. In that event, the focus will be on securing the goal posts, team benches, and locker room access.
In addition, a decision was made not to replace the fence and hedges at the bottom of the hillside at the north end of the field since that barrier was considered a factor in the injuries sustained during the Florida State game incident.
The University's policy modifications come at a time when the NCAA has communicated with all member institutions about the need to improve postgame crowd control. In a memorandum to presidents and chancellors, NCAA President Myles Brand cited "what appears to be an escalation in the number and severity of incidents" and encouraged a thorough review of postgame crowd control plans.
"The safety of our spectators and student-athletes is foremost in our minds as we adopt these operational modifications to avoid any repeat of the frightening events that took place following the Florida State game last year," said Littlepage. "Everyone associated with the University wants our fans to be known for their combination of enthusiastic support and sportsmanship."
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