Sept. 11 led to increased security at college games

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Germantown High School/Memphis, Tenn.
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FILE PHOTO by EVE EDELHEIT/Missourian
File Photo by EVE EDELHEIT/Missourian

Fans rush the field after the Missouri win against OU on Oct. 23. 2010. Concerns after 9/11 have increased safety issues at sporting events, especially in moments of chaos and excitement.

COLUMBIA — Picture this: You are at Faurot Field in a crowd of nearly 70,000. It’s the fourth

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quarter of the regular-season finale against arch-rival Kansas Jayhawks. With two minutes left, the Tigers need a defensive stop to guarantee a perfect season.

All of a sudden, the officials stop the game. The public address announcer’s voice booms across the stadium, “Everybody remain calm, but we are now on lockdown.”

What goes through your mind?

Some things that may be going through your mind might be your desire to stay safe, your frustration that you will miss the

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end of the football game or your wondering about what could be going on.

A similar incident occurred five years ago in Norman, Okla., during a game between Kansas State and Oklahoma. One student was outside of the stadium with a bomb attached to his chest. The stadium was on lockdown for several hours as police investigated.

After the Sept. 11 attacks, the security measures at athletic events increased considerably. Several universities around the nation, such as the University of Southern Mississippi, Texas A&M University, University of Tennessee and Vanderbilt University, have all beefed up their security since 9/11.

MU is among the universities with more concentrated surveillance.

Though he wouldn’t give specifics, MU

police Capt. Brian Weimer said the school has installed more surveillance cameras at athletic facilities. He added that MU has more security personnel at the venues.

A sports reporter for KOMU, Eric Blumberg has witnessed the improved safety checks firsthand. He said that depending on the event, the police might even pat fans down before a game.

“The bigger the event, the more security there is,” Blumberg said.

He recalled the most security being at MU basketball games toward the end of last season.

When talking about last season’s football game when the Tigers upset the No. 1 Sooners and 30,000 fans rushed the field and a few fans were arrested, Weimer said that it was still his job to enforce the law.

“If you are driving, you have a choice to speed or not, and if you do speed, you have the possibility of getting pulled over,” Weimer said. “We can’t pull over every speeder, but we still enforce the law.”

He said he believes that it is still the responsibility of the fans to know

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how to act at games. The question is still asked: How can you ensure the safety of the athletes and spectators?

“You cannot ensure it,” Weimer said. “You just do the best you can.”