BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- The Southeastern Conference reminds football fans that, in the interest of enhancing existing security measures at games involving Conference schools, the SEC will implement a new security policy regulating the size and type of bag that may be carried into all stadiums in which SEC schools host games, beginning with the 2017 football season.
The SEC-wide clear bag policy was approved by a unanimous vote of the league's athletics directors and announced in March.
Although the new conference-wide bag policy will be in effect beginning with the 2017 football season, a number of SEC institutions implemented the policy during the 2016 football season.
"SEC football stadiums are among the largest venues in the world of sports, so safety and security are issues that must always remain a priority for our events," said SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey. "We believe this policy is an important enhancement to the security measures already put in place by our institutions."
Fans are encouraged not to bring any types of bags inside SEC stadiums during football games; however, the following outlines bags that are permitted:
• Bags that are clear plastic, vinyl or PVC and do not exceed 12" x 6" x 12"
• One-gallon clear plastic freezer bags (Ziploc bag or similar)
• Small clutch bags, with or without a handle or strap, that do not exceed 4.5" x 6.5" (approximately the size of a hand)
• An exception will be made for medically necessary items after proper inspection at a gate designated for this purpose
An approved logo no larger than 4.5" x 3.4" may be displayed on one side of a permissible clear bag.
Prohibited bags include, but are not limited to: purses larger than a clutch bag; briefcases; backpacks, cinch bags, and fanny packs that are not clear and/or exceed the size restriction; luggage of any kind; computer bags/cases; camera bags/cases; binocular bags/cases or any bag larger than the permissible size.
Fans will continue to be able to carry items allowed into the stadium in a permissible clear bag, such as binoculars and cameras.
This policy pertains to bags and is not an all-inclusive list of items that are prohibited from being taken into the stadium. Therefore, fans should be aware of specific institutional policies regarding prohibited items that may not be brought into that institution's stadium.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Are other events limiting bags?
Yes. The NFL has a clear bag policy and some SEC schools and institutions have previously implemented a clear bag policy. Additionally, some institutions do not permit any bags to be brought inside the stadium.
How does the new policy improve public safety?
The clear bag is easily searched and significantly reduces faulty bag searches. It also supports the Department of Homeland Security's "If You See Something, Say Something" campaign.
Do I have to put everything I'm carrying into the permissible bags?
No. Fans are limited only to the type of bags carried into the stadium, not items that they may normally bring to a game that fit in pockets or clutch bags (e.g., keys, makeup, feminine products, comb, phone, wallet, credit cards). Fans may carry a blanket over their arms, and binoculars and/or camera around their necks or in their hands without the case. Fans may also use the clear bag and clutch to carry these items and other permissible items. Every member of the family may carry in a permissible bag.
What about diaper bags?
Diapers and non-medically necessary items for babies and young children must 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 stadium.
How many bags may each person bring into the stadium?
One large clear bag - either a one-gallon Ziploc style bag or the 12" x 6" x 12" clear bag - plus a small clutch that does not exceed 4.5" x 6.5". The small clutch allows privacy for small personal items and also is easily searched.
May fans carry cameras, binoculars, smart phones or tablets separately from what they put in a clear bag?
Yes. A phone, binoculars or cameras may be carried into the stadium as long as it is not in its own bag.
Are seat cushions allowed to be carried into the stadium?
Fans should review each institution's prohibited items policy to determine if seat cushions are allowed.
What about bringing blankets in cold weather?
Fans will be able to bring blankets by tossing them over a shoulder or arm.
If I have certain items that I need to bring into the stadium for medical reasons and they won't fit in the clear bag, what do I do?
There will be designated entrances to allow screening of these bags and medically necessary items.
Are all purses prohibited?
No. Small clutch purses, with or without a handle or strap, that do not exceed 4.5" x 6.5" are permitted along with either the 12" x 6" x 12" clear tote bag or the one-gallon freezer bag. Fans are encouraged not to bring any bags, but the policy has been created to balance fan needs with improved public safety and convenience.
Will this policy affect the ability of fans to tailgate? Are there limitations on tailgating items?
No. Fans will be able to enjoy tailgating activities in the parking lots and do so with greater safety and knowledge for entry into the stadium.
Does this bag policy apply to credentialed individuals (e.g., media, staff)?
There will be an exception specifically for "credentialed" individuals who bring bags that do not meet the policy guidelines. However, their bags will still be searched prior to entry, and only bags that pass the inspection will be allowed into the stadium.