Posted August 5, 2014
By REGINA DENNIS - Waco Tribune
Baylor Bears fans heading to games at McLane Stadium this fall will have to leave their cigarettes, seat cushions and umbrellas behind under new guidelines for the stadium announced Monday by Baylor University.
The smoking and tobacco ban was among 12 new rules for the stadium. Baylor Athletic Director Ian McCaw said the rule is in line with Baylor’s recent transition to becoming a completely smoke- and tobacco-free campus, a policy that will go into effect Monday and will apply to all Baylor-owned facilities.
The ban also extends to tailgating areas, said Nick Joos, Baylor’s executive associate athletic director. According to the university’s website, the smoking ban will include facilities, parking lots, garages and sidewalks.
Fans will not be able to leave the stadium and step outside for a smoke break because of the stadium’s new no re-entry policy, which wasfirst reported last week.
“That’s all about safety and making sure we’re the safest environment we can be for our fans, plus we also want our fans to stay and support Coach Briles and the team for four quarters as well,” McCaw said of the no re-entry policy.
Another of the new rules prohibits stadium visitors from bringing their own portable chair-back seats or cushions. But fans can rent or purchase the cushions from sales and marketing partner IMG College Seating.
That rule is largely meant to better manage seating arrangements on game days, since all six home games are nearly sold out.
“If you were allocated a bench (seat) that was 20 inches wide, some people in the past have been bringing in chair backs that might have been 24 inches wide, and they would be encroaching on their neighbor,” McCaw said. “That’s a big problem because we’re going to be sold out at McLane Stadium, so we’re giving people the option of buying chair backs that are the proper dimension for the seat.”
Austin resident Ty McNeely has been to every Baylor game since 2005 and became a season ticket holder for the first time this year.
He said he actually approves of the new rules on the chair-back seats because he has experienced firsthand the problems cushions and chair backs created for fans during games at Floyd Casey Stadium, the football team’s former home.
“I’m about 6 (feet) 4 (inches tall), so trying to sit down next to some of people that bring their own chair backs — some of them are almost like a lounge chair that they’re bringing in there — it makes things difficult for people around them,” McNeely said. “I can see where people probably think it’s an inconvenience to have to buy their chairs or they think it’s a money grab, but I’ve actually been the victim of that before, so I can understand.”
McNeely said he has heard several fans complain about the no re-entry rule, but he pointed out that most of those people likely won’t be parked close enough to the stadium to be able to go back to their cars during halftime, as was often the case at Floyd Casey.
He thinks the new amenities at McLane Stadium likely will be more family-friendly and make up for any of the adjustments that fans have to make.
“I’m sure there’s going to be growing pains just like there are with anything that’s new,” McNeely said. “I think fans are going to have to get used to things. Baylor’s going to have to get used to how they’re going to do things. I’m expecting some issues, but at the same time I’m not all that worried about any of the policies.”
Some of the rule changes are to mirror policies at other college and professional sports venues, such as limiting bags and purses to 12-by-6-by-12 inches and banning backpacks altogether.
Fans may bring cameras to the stadium, as long as the lens is 4 inches or smaller, but tripods and monopods are banned to limit interference for other fans. Video cameras also are not permitted to protect the broadcasting rights of television networks.
Umbrellas will be banned at the stadium, primarily out of safety concerns and to reduce obstructions of the view of the field. Stadium visitors can bring rain gear like ponchos in case of inclement weather, McCaw said.
Baylor launched a new “Gameday” fan page — www.baylorbears.com/gameday — where fans can seek out information on parking, tailgating and other gameday regulations.
The university Monday also announced that a limited number of single-game tickets will go on sale to the general public at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday.
Fans can call the box office at 710-1000 or go online at www.baylorbears.com/tickets.