A year ago, I penned a letter to Sandy Barbour and Penn State Athletics concerning the student entrance for home football games that became a security nightmare. With increased security procedures and a rise in student attendance, entrance to games not only became a logistical problem, but also dangerous.
After a considerable reaction from both students and alumni, the Penn State administration considered ways to improve game day procedures. Ahead of the season opener against Akron, Penn State Athletics announced plans to alleviate the issues that had come to light.
The plan included the addition of ticket lanes and incentives to encourage fans to enter the stadium far ahead of kickoff to reduce crowding. Obstructions outside Gate A were removed to improve the flow of students into the ticket gates.
Three consecutive home games gave Penn State the opportunity to work out any kinks with the new procedures. After attending all three home games, I can say the plan has worked and my security concerns have been alleviated.
Upon approaching Gate A, it’s easy to notice the changes. Barricaded lanes leading to the ticket gates have been extended to increase crowd control. The security check has been moved from prior to the ticket check to after the ticket check, allowing for a continuous flow of students. This change has made the most noticeable difference. Allowing students to continue moving in controlled lines and briefly stopping for security prevented students from piling on top of each other and creating dangerous crowding situations.
The obstruction Penn State was referencing appeared to be the trees that were scattered outside the gate. While their specific absence wasn’t noticeable, the increase in space, presence of barricades, and crowd control officers was.
The security nightmare I wrote about a year ago no longer exists. While long lines and wait times aren’t any better, it’s an easy price to pay when you’re entering the best student section in the country.
I want to take this opportunity to say thank you to Sandy Barbour and thank you to Penn State Athletics for listening to the student body and making these changes. Your commitment to the well-being of the fans is reassuring and was certainly proven through the implementation of these new procedures. Now, when all 107,000 of us enter Beaver Stadium on game day, we’ll have you especially to thank for getting us there safely.