IU ready to step up security at tonight's season-opening football game


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (WTHR) - New security measures are in play for Indiana University's prime time season opener against Ohio State Thursday night.

Fans attending football games at Memorial Stadium (and basketball games at Assembly Hall) will have to go through a metal detector and carry their personal belongings in a clear plastic bag before passing through the gates.

Tuesday afternoon, dozens of metal detectors were lined up, plugged in and ready to be set up at each entrance.

IU Assistant Athletic Director Jeremy Gray said the changes were recommended by MSA Security, which was hired to "improve security operations."

He stressed, "there was no incident that scared Indiana into action."

In fact, IU is behind its Big Ten counterparts in adopting the new measures.

"I think that's become a little bit of a misconception, that we're out on the diving board alone on this," he said. "We're the tenth Big Ten institution to adopt a clear bag policy and the four that don't have that policy don't allow any bags at all, so this was an idea whose time has come."

On campus, the students we talked to were generally supportive of the tighter security.

Anabel Carmona, a senior, said "it makes sense because I'm from Spain and we just had terrorist attacks in Spain, literally two weeks ago, so for me it makes sense. It's a safety issue."

Brian Brown, a junior, said "If it makes people feel safe on campus and it's a few extra minutes to get to the game, I think it's worth it, but maybe it shouldn't be for all students. Maybe there should be a student entrance."

But Pauline Ayad, a sophomore, worried about added hassles.

"I don't think it's right you can't bring in anything. Where do you put your stuff? Are they trying to start lockers?" she asked.

Gray said the changes would take some getting used to, but said they were doing all they could to minimize any inconveniences.

For one, he said they chose walk-through detectors over security wands because they're faster.

"The walk-through detectors have shown to drastically reduce the time it takes to be inspected," he said. "With wanding, it's 10-15 seconds (per person) and with the walk-throughs, it's 5-10 seconds."

Gray said they've also added more staff and ticket scanners to keep the lines moving, but suggested fans plan on getting to the game earlier than usual.

And just to make sure students aren't caught unprepared Thursday night, IU will have a slew of people handing out 40,000 plastic bags prior to the game. Gray said plastic bags can't exceed 12"x6"x12". Fans are also allowed to bring one small bag no larger than a clutch purse.

Gray said parents of small children can bring in a diaper bag "through specified gates" and the same holds true for medical bags.