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New Memorial Stadium bag policy

Have you guys seen this:

http://events.calbears.com/nl/jsp/m.jsp?c=4049bf4658f4402714

(Cal has gone the way of the NFL and will now only allow clear bags in the stadium)

I’m getting really sick of these ever increasing “security” measures.  If they’re looking for a way to get me to stop being a season ticket holder, this is their best path.  I can take losing (I sat through the Holmoe years), but what I can’t take is being treated like a criminal.

So I decided to write a letter to the athletic director.  Here it is in full:

I was recently called about my season tickets and during that conversation was told about the new bag policy at Memorial Stadium. I was also sent an e-mail about the policy as well.  I have a number of objections:

1. First and foremost, every time we get one of these announcements they are made LOOONNG after we’ve purchased our season tickets.  I find it cowardly that the athletic department does not announce these changes when we’re buying our tickets, when we actually have an opportunity to push back with the one thing that matters: our dollars.  To that end, it is not surprising that no refunds were being offered on my tickets when they called me.  As I’m sure the athletic department well knows, part of what compels people to buy tickets is a certain level of comfort.  That is why padded seats or bench backs and the like cost more than the bleachers.  Refusing to disclose ways in which you plan to reduce our comfort at games when we buy our tickets is deceptive and lacks integrity.

2. More importantly, shame on whoever decided to advertise this as a necessary security measure.  All bags are checked as we enter the stadium and have been for years.  How will making the bag clear meaningfully change anything?  Can someone not roll a sweatshirt or some other acceptable item around something they’re trying to conceal?  Unless everything in the bag must be clear, that the outer layer of fabric must be clear is of little security value. Inspection and/or pass-through detectors remain the only meaningful way to screen bags.

3.  It is further coercive to tie this policy change to “recent world events” as if what has happened in Europe sporadically over the course of the year has any connection to what might happen in Memorial Stadium.  It is a manipulative ploy to pretend that this policy change is justified on the basis of these events, none of which have happened in a stadium.  It is disgraceful that this University that prides itself on critical thinking and innovation would stoop to such a poorly thought out policy that does little to increase security while causing meaningful discomfort to the fans who fund the stadium and the team, and then use a smoke screen of unrelated events to justify it.

4. Make no mistake, it is a significant reduction in comfort for us fans.  I’ve always brought a small soft-walled insulated cooler with soda and water.  That’s always been allowed up until now.  It brings me great comfort to have cold beverage of my choice throughout the game that I don’t have to pay $5 for.  This new policy effectively bans me from doing that.  Also, preventing me from keeping my camera and binoculars in a protective bag could cost me hundreds of dollars if they were accidentally dropped without the above mentioned bag’s padding.    Additionally, although you allow seat pads, if someone wants one with a back, they must rent them (even MORE cost to us fans who like to be comfortable) as it is no longer acceptable to bring them in.  Then there’s the inconvenience to my wife to dump out her purse every other Saturday and put only a few of those items in a “clutch bag”.  Not to mention that it seems every year I must buy a couple new bags to meet whatever new arcane requirements have been implemented.  Let there be no mistake.  The cumulative effect of the new restrictions every year has notably and significantly reduced my family’s comfort and increased our cost of being Cal football season ticket holders.  And for what?  As points 2 and 3 make clear.  The security benefits are trivial.

5. In fact, it is even worse than that, as the bag policy actually makes my family less safe.  Although it’s not a further reduction in bag size from last year, the continued reduction in bag size over the years means it is a lot harder for me to carry sweatshirts and snacks for the whole family in a sizeable backpack that leaves both my hands free for my four kids so they don’t wander off.  Now I must split that up into multiple small bags leaving me far more encumbered and unable to protect my children on the busy streets of Berkeley.  I ask you: what is more statistically likely, that my young child will get hit by a car or my family will be harmed in a terrorist event?  Anyone with even a elementary understanding of mortality statistics knows how infrequent terrorist attacks are.

6. Finally, any comparison to the NFL is anecdotal and a complete misunderstanding of the fans.  Many of us come to Cal football because we enjoy the traditionally more relaxed, less restrictive, more family friendly (and bringing bags with stuff for the kids is a significant portion of that) environment that has separated college football from pro football.  It is notable that there is no mention of the far more lax policies of Major League Baseball as compared to the NFL.

To summarize, this announcement is cowardly timed, shamefully advertised, disgracefully justified and costly to my family’s comfort, while actually putting them more in harms way than in the past.  All things considered it will take a lot more than “The NFL is just as bad” to convince me of the wisdom of this ridiculous policy.

I respectfully request that this policy be reversed immediately.

Ken Crawford
Season ticket holder since 1999

I encourage all of you to do likewise and e-mail the athletic director at: athletic.director@berkeley.edu

WARNING: Pink is a shade of Red!

Am I the ONLY one who realizes that pink is a shade of red?  Thus, there should be NO pink Cal gear.  The cheerleaders should never wear pink.  The team should never wear pink.  And there sure as heck shouldn’t be a day where we’re all supposed to wear pink to the game like this official Cal page suggests for the WSU game (a team that also happens to be red).

I don’t want to hear any more BS from the students

For much of the Tedford era there was a constant refrain from the students in the Cal blogosphere: “The Alumni side wasn’t making any noise… don’t they care!?!”

What a difference a few years makes:

I noticed this too at the game, but nice to see it from a professional reporter:

- The Cal student section at Memorial Stadium had perhaps 200 fans when the game began at 12:30 p.m.

That’s right students. The Alumni side was about 60% full when the game started and only filled in minimally more throughout the game. We WERE THERE to cheer on our team when they came out of the tunnel. Over in the student section, it was 5% full at that point, and maybe, just maybe, grew to match the percentage of the alumni side at its peak.

Thus for time immortal, I will reference this post whenever some sophomoric genius gets his panties in a wad about lack of noise from the alumni… because you know what, it’s the alumni that can be counted on to show up and root for their Bears no matter what.

The students are FAR more fickle.