ODU Athletics

Minium: Clear Bag Policy Adopted by ODU Will Enhance Security and Get Fans to Their Seats More Quickly

July 29, 2019
By ODU Athletics

By Harry Minium

The National Football League adopted a policy six years ago calling on their millions of fans to ditch their purses and back packs. Instead, they were told pack your stuff for games in clear plastic bags.

The reason? Here’s part of the text from the NFL Web site: “To provide a safer environment for the public and significantly expedite fan entry into stadiums.”

The NFL has since been joined by most of college football, including Old Dominion University, which will institute a clear-bag policy beginning with the Aug. 31 opener against Norfolk State.

Virginia’s three other Football Bowl Subdivision schools -- Virginia, Virginia Tech and Liberty – already have clear-bag policies. James Madison fans will not only have to carry clear bags this season, they must also walk through metal detectors.

The SEC and Big Ten have league-wide clear-bag policies and other leagues are following.

In the world in which we live, this is considered a “best practice” in college athletics meant to enhance safety and speed up the process of moving fans from ticket lines into their seats.

The same is now true at ODU.

In its first 10 seasons at Foreman Field, ODU didn’t have the space or technology to handle clear-bag inspections. After undergoing a $67.5 million renovation, Kornblau Field at S.B. Ballard Stadium has both the space and infrastructure.

The new stadium will offer upgraded concession stands and nearly 16,000 seats that are roomier and with back support. There will be three ribbon scoreboards, a new video board and modern restrooms on both the east and west sides of the stadium.

Consider the clear bag policy just another upgrade, one that ensures greater security and a quicker entry into the stadium.

The new rules are fairly simple. You can’t bring any large purses, fanny packs, computer bags, backpacks or binocular holders. You can bring in one small purse or clutch bag (4 ½ inches by 6 ½) and wallets. You can also bring in seat cushions, as long as they don't have arms or pockets.

Binoculars are allowed but most be in a clear bag.

The plastic bags may have handles, with the bag itself being no bigger than 12 inches by six inches by 12. 

ODU will hand out 5,000 free bags to season ticket holders, one per car, as they park in tailgate lots for the opener against Norfolk State, compliments of the Old Dominion Athletic Foundation.

Additional bags can be purchased at ODU Bookstore locations. They’re also available on Amazon and other online retailers. 

Some of the clear bags on the market now are kind of stylish. It’s not a Gucci bag, but then no one else in the stadium will be carrying a Gucci, either.

If you don’t want to purchase a bag, and don't really care about looks, that’s fine. Grab a Hefty, Glad or Ziploc gallon bag out of your pantry and that will suffice.

ODU took its first steps toward improving safety a few years ago when security officials began searching bags at the gates. At first, some fans complained about the searches. But eventually, it became second nature for fans to open up their bags.

This was not a decision made in a vacuum. It came after months of discussions between the ODU Police, Spectra, which runs the show at home football and basketball games, and University officials.

Will lines be backed up at the gates? They might for the first game regardless of any security changes.

Fans won’t be familiar with the stadium. That’s why I’d advise getting there early for the first game.

There will be plenty of pre-game entertainment, including the bands from ODU and Norfolk State. Buy a crab cake sandwich or a burrito on your way into the stadium. Finding your new seats and settling in should be a joyous process.

The clear-bag policy will get you to your seats a little quicker and with more peace of mind. 

Contact Minium: hminium@odu.edu

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