Unruly Colts fans subject to 'fan conduct class'
The Colts pre-season starts this weekend. There are some new security policies in place but one thing remains the same. Behaving badly at Lucas Oil Stadium can get you booted and banned from returning.
Most fans know the behavior.
As Terry Jones said: "It's people who are unruly, yelling, screaming, standing up in front of you and getting obnoxious, the normal stuff that happens when people drink too much."
While Colts fans are known for being among the best-behaved in the league, some do get out of control.
According to the Capital Improvement Board, which runs Lucas Oil Stadium, last season 64 fans were ejected from the stadium with nine arrested.
As they were escorted out, they were given a letter outlining the Colts "fan conduct class."
It's a four-hour online course which fans kicked out of a game must pay $75 to take and pass if they wish to attend future games at the stadium.
Larry Hall, Vice President of Ticket Operations and Guest Services for the Colts, explained, "We want everyone to have a good time, but never at someone else's expense. So if someone uses foul language or excessive alcohol that would be against the fan code of conduct.
While Hall said this year it's now an NFL best practice, the Colts were one of the original teams to adopt the rule.
He said the course covers everything from alcohol abuse and stadium policies to stress management and communication skills.
"In the end it's meant to be an educational process in which they come away with a better understanding of their behavior and how it affects others trying to enjoy the game," Hall said.
Fans attending the Colts camp in Anderson were surprised to hear about the course, but mostly supportive.
Carol Simpson said, "I think it's really fair, to keep it safe and especially with families."
Her husband Scott Simpson agreed. "The days of the 1960s and 1970s macho fan are over and football has really spread out its fan base."
Janice Houghton added, "It sounds beneficial. When you have people that don't use common sense and respond in suitable ways, they might need some help."
Hall said so far all the fans who've taken the course have passed and when they do they get a certificate of completion that they must show to attend future games.
Asked how anyone would know if someone not having season tickets were thrown out, he said, "If they're ejected we get a copy of their ID and ticket. There are ways to match."
He added, "If they come back and they haven't taken the course, there's actually a city code violation for trespassing, so the penalties do escalate."
Asked what happens if say a Patriots fan gets kicked out of Lucas Oil Stadium, Hall said the NFL "is considering a central database that would carry over to all stadiums."
Each NFL team gives a portion of the course fee to non-profit organization. The Colts are giving $25 of their $75 fee to the IMPD K9 Association.