The University of Virginia Department of Athletics today announced changes to the bag policy and entrance procedures for home football and men’s and women’s basketball games, to go into effect beginning with the home football game against Duke on Oct. 7 at Scott Stadium.
The changes in policy and entrance procedures are the result of recommendations made for large-scale events held on Grounds by the University’s security consultant.
The new policy limits the size and type of bags that can be brought into Scott Stadium and John Paul Jones Arena. The policy does not change the items fans may bring into the stadium and arena, but restricts the type of bag used to carry items.
- Bags must be clear plastic, vinyl or PVC and cannot exceed 12 inches by 6 inches by 12 inches. Clear one-gallon plastic freezer bags (Ziploc bag or similar) are also permitted.
- Small clutch bags, approximately the size of a hand and no larger than 4.5 inches x 6.5 inches (with or without a handle or strap) can be taken into the stadium or arena and will be subject to search.
- An exception will be made for items necessary for medical reasons after proper inspections at a gate designated for this purpose.
Prohibited bags include, but are not limited to: purses larger than a clutch bag, coolers, briefcases, backpacks, fanny packs, cinch bags, luggage of any kind, computer bags and camera bags or any bag larger than the permissible size.
Seat cushions and seatbacks are permitted as long as they do not have pockets or are not in a carrying bag.
Items needed for small children must be in a clear bag that meet the stated dimensions.
New screening procedures will now be used at all entry gates to Scott Stadium and John Paul Jones Arena. Walk-through and hand-held wand metal detectors will be the primary means of screening. For guests who are unable to use a walk-through metal detector, hand-held metal detectors will be used.
“The safety and security of all of our fans, guests, student-athletes, coaches and staff is our top priority,” Virginia Director of Athletics Craig Littlepage said. “We realize adoption of this policy in the middle of the football season is not ideal and ask our fans for their patience as we implement these new procedures.”
Virginia hosts Duke on Oct. 7 at Scott Stadium. Kickoff is at 12:20 p.m. with gates opening at 10:50 a.m. To expedite entry, fans are encouraged to arrive early and avoid bringing bags into the stadium.
The clear bag policy has become widespread across college football venues. Virginia becomes the 47th of the 65 Power 5 schools (members of the ACC, Big 10, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC) to adopt the policy. The clear bag policy is also in place at all NFL stadiums.
Metal detection screening is in place at 10 other college football stadiums and every MLB, MLS, NBA, NFL and NHL venue.
The clear bag policy and entry procedures will also be in effect for most non-athletic public events that are ticketed and/or high-profile at Scott Stadium and John Paul Jones Arena.
The facility policies for Virginia’s other athletics venues are still under review. Any changes to the policies at those facilities would be announced at a later date.
Frequently Asked Questions (and Answers)
Q. Where will the security checkpoints be located?
A. Screening areas will be located at all entrances to Scott Stadium and John Paul Jones Arena. All those in attendance – from fans to game day staff – will be required to pass through the security checkpoints in an effort to enhance security at the venue’s events.
Q. When will the venue doors open?
A. Scott Stadium gates and John Paul Jones Arena doors will open on our normal schedule – 90 minutes before the start of home football and men’s basketball games and 60 minutes before the start of home women’s basketball games.
Q. How can I get through screening quickly?
A. Guests are strongly encouraged to leave bags and non-essential items at home or in their vehicles. Bags and extra items take more time to search and slow down the screening process. Be prepared – have cell phones, key rings, cameras and any large metal objects out of your pockets. Guests do not need to remove jackets, coins, belts, jewelry, watches, etc. Follow these steps and screening should take only a few seconds.
Q. How many bags can each person carry into a venue?
A. Each guest can enter Scott Stadium or John Paul Jones Arena with one large clear bag (12 inches by 12 inches by 6 inches or one-gallon clear plastic freezer bag) and an approved clutch purse (no larger than 4.5 inches by 6.5 inches). The clutch purse can be carried separately from the clear bag and will be subject to search.
Q. What items are prohibited?
A. Backpacks and large bags, outside food and beverages (including empty bottles), and weapons of any kind are among the prohibited items. For a full list of specific prohibited items, see UVA facilities policies here.
Q. Do I have to put everything I’m carrying into the permissible bags?
A. No. Fans are limited only to the type of bags carried into the stadium, not items that they may normally bring to a game that fit in pockets or clutch bags (e.g., keys, makeup, feminine products, comb, phone, wallet, credit cards). Fans may carry a blanket or extra jacket over their arms, and binoculars and/or camera around their necks or in their hands without the case. Fans may also use the clear bag and clutch to carry these items and other permissible items. Every member of the family may carry in a permissible bag. Only prohibited items cannot be carried in clear bags into venues.
Q. May fans carry cameras, binoculars, smart phones or tablets separately from what they put in a clear bag?
A. Yes. A phone, binoculars or cameras (as long as they are not in a bag or a case) may be carried into the stadium.
Q. What will happen if I show up with a prohibited bag?
A. Guests who arrive to Scott Stadium or John Paul Jones Arena entrances with prohibited bags will not be permitted to enter the venue. In these cases, prohibited bags will need to be returned to guests’ vehicles and/or residence. Guests can then return with an approved clear bag and gain entry into the venue after successful completion of the screening process.
Q. What can fans substitute for diaper bags?
A. Diapers and other baby supplies can be carried in a clear bag. Each member of a family, including children, is allowed to carry one approved bag and a clutch that meets policy specifications into the stadium.
Q. Can fans bring blankets and large jackets during cold weather?
A. Yes. Guests are welcome to carry blankets outside of a clear bag. Guests may bring extra coats and jackets into the athletics venues by tossing them over a shoulder or arm. Guests should be prepared to have jackets with pockets searched.
Q. Are seat cushions allowed to be carried into the venue?
A. Only approved seat cushions and seatbacks may be carried into the venue. They cannot have pockets, zippers or be in their own carrying bag.
Q. What happens if the metal detector used at the security checkpoint goes off?
A. When a metal detector is set off, guests will be asked to step aside for a brief secondary screening.
Q. Where do guests with accessibility needs enter?
A. Guests with accessibility needs can enter at an accessible entrance. Event staff will assist through the screening process.
Q. I have a medical device – will it be affected if I go through a metal detector? Where can I enter?
A. Guests with medical concerns should alert event staff personnel.
Q. Why is UVA doing this? Has there been a problem?
A. UVA is proactively adding these additional security measures as part of the University’s overall strategy to ensure a safe environment for our students, faculty, staff and the thousands of visitors who come to our campus every year.
Q. Do other schools have the same entry procedure?
A. Enhanced screening processes are becoming the norm for both collegiate and professional sports organizations. Atlantic Coast Conference teams like Duke, Pittsburgh, Miami and Louisville currently use security checkpoints/metal detectors, and they are mandated for use at all MLB, MLS, NBA, NFL and NHL games.
Q. Will this policy affect the ability of fans to tailgate? Are there limitations on tailgating items?
A. The policy does not impact tailgating areas. The policy is for access to the venue.