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Growing global threats lead to security policy changes at Alabama, Auburn stadiums

An Army helicopter flies over Bryant-Denny Stadium (Photo: Jeremy Warner)
An Army helicopter flies over Bryant-Denny Stadium (Photo: Jeremy Warner)

TUSCALOOSA and AUBURN, Ala. — With security threats growing nationally and around the globe, the University of Alabama and Auburn University are both taking steps to make sure football game days are safer than they’ve ever been. With that in mind, both universities have announced they are implementing clear-bag only policies at their football stadiums.

“The implementation of this measure is intended to enhance public safety while minimizing time spent searching bags at gate security checkpoints, thus easing access into the stadium,” the University of Alabama said in a statement.

“The clear bag policy should enable us to move fans through our security check points much faster,” Auburn University added.

The two colleges’ policies will be almost identical this fall, and the SEC is expected to mandate a conference-wide clear-bag policy for the 2017 season.

Here’s what you need to know before visiting Bryant-Denny or Jordan-Hare:

What you can bring in —
• One (per person) large clear plastic, vinyl or PVC bag that does not exceed 12″ x 6″ x 12″
• One-gallon clear plastic freezer bags
• Small “clutch” purses, no larger than 4 1/2″ by 6 1/2″, with or without a handle or strap
• Binoculars, cameras (but not their cases) and smart phones
• Seat cushions
• Blankets, which can be tossed over a shoulder or arm

What you cannot bring in —
• Backpacks, large purses or any other type of bag that is not clear
• More than one large clear bag
• Diaper bags

“This is about both safety and improving the overall fan experience,” UA said while explaining the new policy on its official website. “The clear bag is easily and quickly searched, greatly reducing faulty bag searches. It also supports the Department of Homeland Security’s ‘If You See Something, Say Something’ campaign.”

The policy change at Alabama’s two largest sports venues comes as evidence shows terrorists are increasingly targeting stadiums internationally.

In March of this year, a terrorist wearing a suicide belt blew himself up inside an Iraqi soccer stadium, killing 25 people and wounding almost 100 more.

Late last year a terrorist wearing an explosive vest was denied access to France’s national stadium, and subsequently blew himself up outside. Several minutes later a second attacker also blew himself up outside of the venue.

Two weeks later a soccer match in Germany was cancelled because of a confirmed terrorist threat on the stadium in Hanover.

Most recently, one of the suspects in the Brussels airport bombing was found to have pictures of a U.K. stadium in his phone, presumably after staking out the location for a possible future attack.

While there is no evidence that either Alabama or Auburn has been the target of a would-be attacker, security officials believe the growing threat has made the new clear-bag policy a necessary change, and fans can expect an increased security presence in and around the stadiums.

“The global security threats we face every day make this new policy a safety imperative,” Auburn concluded.

For Alabama’s complete clear-bag policy, click here. For Auburn’s, click here, or check out the video below.

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