Kansas State University

Clear bags, clear-cut views on K-State’s policy for next year’s athletic events

Alison Moore is worried Kansas State’s new clear-bag policy will make it difficult for her and her family to attend football games when it goes into effect next season.

Moore, a K-State graduate and season-ticket holder from Wichita, is used to watching games at Snyder Family Stadium with her husband and three young children. For years, she has carried a large diaper bag to her seat in Section 8, using it to hold everything from bottles and diapers to snacks and toys. Everything a mother needs to survive a fall Saturday.

Next season, she will have to consolidate into much smaller bags. K-State’s new policy will require all bags to be clear plastic, vinyl or PVC and not exceed 12 inches in height or width or six inches in diameter. One-gallon plastic freezer bags will be allowed. So will small clutch bags, approximately the size of a hand. Prohibited bags include purses larger than a clutch bag, coolers, briefcases, backpacks, fanny packs, camera bags and luggage of any kind.

An exception will be made for medically necessary items after proper inspection, but the days of Moore bringing a diaper bag to games are over.

“The new bag policy will definitely make it harder for me to go to games, and it’s not easy to begin with,” Moore said. “We are trying to do something as a family we can enjoy together now and for years to come, and this will make it really hard to schlep all of our kids’ stuff. We’ve got sip cups, snacks, teddy bears, hats, sunscreen – all of this stuff we have to bring.

“I totally understand why they are doing this. They want to keep everyone safe in the stadium, and I appreciate that and I want them to do that. But I also think there could be some sort of happy medium.”

Lynette Hofer, a 2011 K-State graduate from Wichita, agrees.

Hofer is used to bringing a camera bag and diaper bag into games and doesn’t like the thought of ditching them for plastic bags. She says she uses an expensive camera, and refuses to take it places without its padded case. That means she won’t bring it to games next season.

“My biggest concern, however, is the banning of diaper bags,” Hofer said. “My son will be 8 months old at the start of football season and since he is a fourth-generation Wildcat, we can’t wait for him to experience all that is K-State. By not allowing us to bring his diaper bag, we have to seriously consider if he will be able to go to the games, which may keep us from games.

“As I’m sure you realize, an 8-month old needs diapers, wipes, a change of outfits, possibly a blanket or jacket, a changing pad, pacifiers and bottles/food, which need protected from the heat, which is common in August-September. It will be very difficult, if not impossible, to bring all that with us.”

Hofer shared those thoughts directly with K-State athletic director John Currie and president Kirk Schulz in an e-mail.

Currie told The Eagle that K-State is switching to a clear-bag policy mainly for security reasons, making it more difficult for someone to sneak a weapon into an event. He also hopes the new policy will expedite the entry process. The NFL and several other colleges use similar bag policies.

He said he has received “very positive feedback from our fans.” Many have told him they look forward to a safer game-day atmosphere.

But he has also received a number of questions about the new policy. Mainly, what non-clear bags will be allowed? K-State anticipated questions on the topic, and decided to announce the change now, giving fans ample time to prepare. The school will also supply season-ticket holders with one approved plastic bag per account with their tickets in August.

In the meantime, K-State has posted answers to frequently asked questions on its athletics website.

For fans like Hofer and Moore, whom have questions about diaper bags, K-State offered the following response: “Diapers and other baby supplies can be carried in a clear bag. Each member of a family, including children, would be allowed to carry an approved clear bag and a clutch purse into the venue.”

Currie understands the new policy will be an adjustment for some, and he hopes to make the transition smooth.

“There are a lot of kids that come to Bill Snyder Family Stadium and Bramlage Coliseum. We are very sensitive to that,” Currie said. “We are working really hard to educate and get the word out, as well as study the aspects of the clear bag policy that maybe need to be tweaked.”

Moore and Hofer said they would prefer their traditional bags be searched by stadium security, rather than switch to a clear-bag policy. K-State has routinely searched bags for years, and few have complained. Perhaps K-State could designate a special entry gate for diaper bags.

They are up for suggestions, but they are down on clear bags.

“There has to be another way,” Moore said, “that is still really accommodating to families and keeps everyone safe.”

Kellis Robinett: @kellisrobinett