September 5, 2004
With the first UVa home football game right around the corner, university officials are now stepping up security efforts to help with crowd control.
Last October, after UVa beat FSU at Scott Stadium, fans rushed out onto the field. The incident left 20 people hurt.
This season, UVa officials are trying to keep it from happening again.
"We can't allow for fans to come on the field because it becomes a matter of safety, it becomes disruptive," said UVa Athletics Director, Craig Littlepage.
A study done after the on-field rush has now led to some post game changes. University officials say the ACC policy restricting fans from the field will be strictly enforced, starting with trumped up security.
"We have rearranged our staffing levels, so that we have a larger presence on the field, especially at the end of the game," said interim UVa chief of police, Mike Gibson.
The number of officers will jump from 40 to 60. Police will also be keeping a closer watch on fan behavior on the hillside. One of the ways is by using cameras for the first time.
"Folks who are a little more aggressive would be removed from the situation so they don't create an opportunity for other folks to follow them," said Gibson.
University officials are hoping these measures will help stop a post game rush.
"Realizing that bad things can happen and bad things do happen over time, in any given football year somebody gets hurt and in some cases, someone gets killed as a result of these sorts of celebrations. They're unnecessary," said Littlepage.
However, officials say what is necessary is making sure everyone has a safe and exciting football experience.
Another change that was made - if a crowd does somehow get onto the field, the focus goes on securing the goal posts, team benches, and the locker room.
Fans who do go onto the field before, during, or after a game are subject to criminal trespassing charges.