Officials open more gates at football games, ask for early arrivals
|Fans enter Michigan Stadium for the Aug. 31
season-opening game versus Washington. U-M officials are teaming
up with fans to make entrance to Michigan Stadium easier for
all ticketholders. (Photo by Martin Vloet, U-M Photo Services)
U-M athletic department officials say it is important for them
to team up with Michigan football fans to help alleviate some of
the problems caused by
admitting 110,000-plus fans into Michigan Stadium for Wolverine
Although more gates were open to the crowd and more turnstiles
used for Saturdays game versus Western Michigan University
than in the home opener, officials say it is still important for
fans to arrive early and be aware of items prohibited in Michigan
Stadium. Planning ahead and entering the stadium earlier, they say,
can alleviate many of the congestion problems.
Several thousand fans were waiting to get into the Big House before
and after the opening kickoff Aug. 31 versus Washington. Security
remains tight approaching the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist
attacks, and game officials initiated new procedures this season
to accommodate the large crowd coming into Michigan Stadium.
For the remainder of the season, additional gates and turnstiles
are being used to accommodate the crowd before all U-M home games.
But fans still could find themselves in long lines if they wait
until near kickoff to enter the stadium gates and security checkpoints.
The Aug. 31 crowd of 111,491 ranks as the fifth largest in the
76-year history of Michigan Stadium. With home games on the schedule
against national powers Penn State and Wisconsin, as well as the
annual grudge match with instate rival Michigan State, near-record
crowds are expected the remainder of the season.
The single most important thing we have done is open more
gates. We will not have any more problems with fans getting through
the gates, if they cooperate, says Bill Martin, the Donald
R. Shepherd Director of Intercollegiate Athletics. We have
also added 3040 percent more turnstiles, but we still urge
people to help us by not waiting until the last minute to enter
Gates open two hours prior to kickoff.
Fans wont be allowed to enter the stadium with any of the
following items: bags of any size (purses, fanny packs, backpacks,
binocular cases and diaper bags), containers of any kind, aerosol
and spray cans, umbrellas and seat backs, flags and flagpoles, alcoholic
beverages, coolers, thermoses, cups, bottles, cans and flasks, food
of any kind, camcorders and tripods, strollers and weapons.
Last year, we all had a heightened sense of security and
cooperation (after the terrorist attacks). How quickly some people
have forgotten, Martin says. We need the fans to be
team players in the important process of getting everyone in.
Fans are welcome to bring the following permitted items: non-pocket
seat cushions, binoculars without a case, cellular phones, pagers,
clear and sealed plastic water bottles, small cameras, radios, blankets
and rain apparel.
One area in which things went smoothly, according to athletic
department officials, was the new student ticket policy. Beginning
this season, students holding student tickets must present valid
student identification to be admitted to the stadium.
Non-students who have student tickets must get a $25 validation
before the game or they will not be allowed to enter the stadium.
This can be done at five locations, including one each on the U-MFlint
and U-MDearborn campuses. However, on Saturdays, only the
Michigan Union ticket office validates tickets during its regular
business hours of 9 a.m.1 p.m. Only students can validate
student tickets at these locations.
Things went unbelievably well (Aug. 31), and our students
were wonderful, Martin says. More than 80 percent of
students brought their identification and a ticket and little else.
Plus, many came early.
If all fans come to the stadium gates the same way, and with plenty
of time to spare, U-M athletic officials say getting into the Big
House will not be a big pain.