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Practice Squad

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: September 20, 2008, 08:35:07 AM


TAMPA - The Tampa Sports Authority and the University of South Florida announced Friday a series of stricter initiatives to enhance the game-day experience for fans attending USF football games at Raymond James Stadium.

The new guidelines are in response to numerous complaints of abusive, profanity-laced verbal attacks and intimidation of Kansas fans before, during and after USF's game with the Jayhawks on Sept. 12.

Among the changes:

- Parking lots won't be opened until four hours before kickoff for tailgating; they previously were open five hours.
- Kegs or "large vessels" containing alcohol will be prohibited and confiscated in the parking lots.
- Inside the stadium, fans will be ejected for using profanity and offensive language.
- RJS employees will request IDs for any person buying beer (previously only those younger than 30 were required to show ID).

Also, additional security, law enforcement and ATB will be used inside and outside the stadium.

"I am very pleased that we have been able to work collaboratively with USF, law enforcement, Sentry [our private security provider] to identify a number of initiatives that will enhance the game-day experience of all USF and visiting team fans attending Bulls games at Raymond James Stadium," said Mickey Farrell, TSA's Director of Operations.

Added USF executive AD Bill McGillis: "We have some of the greatest fans and one of the most exciting college football environments in America at Raymond James Stadium. The huge majority of our fans are terrific - they enjoy the games, tailgate with great pride and passion, and treat each other, as well as visiting teams and their fans, with respect.

"We do recognize, though, the need to continually monitor and adjust our stadium policies and procedures to ensure that we are providing the very best experience possible for everyone who attends our games. To that end, many in the USF community including students, alumni and staff, developed and announced in August a new sportsmanship campaign - "Be Respect-A-Bull". The campaign was launched prior to the first home game and it is anticipated that it will be a staple of the USF culture for years to come.

"In addition, we have worked together with our partners at TSA and law enforcement to implement a number of initiatives effective with our next home game on October 2 vs. Pittsburgh. We believe these initiatives, coupled with our ongoing commitment to the "Be Respect-A-Bull" campaign, will ensure a fantastic game-day experience for everyone."

At last week's Kansas game, Pat Porzelt, a KU graduate, told The Tampa Tribune her treatment by USF fans was "the worst experience" she had ever had, giving several examples of profanity-laced fans confronting her inside and outside the stadium.

USF quarterback Matt Grothe also told the Tribune while he was warming up on the field before the game he heard a USF fan repeatedly calling Kansas cheerleaders a sexual slur.

Full List Of New Guidlines

Parking Lots/Tailgating
* Parking lots will open a maximum of four hours before kickoff (previous policy provided for parking lots to open five hours before kickoff for games that started after 1:00 p.m.)
* Fans will not be permitted to possess mass amounts of alcohol. Kegs or large vessels that contain alcoholic beverages will be prohibited and confiscated
* The number and presence of security, law enforcement personnel and ATB agents will be increased
* Efforts to identify intoxicated fans will be enhanced. Fans determined by law enforcement to be intoxicated will be denied entry to the stadium

Inside Stadium
* The number and presence of security and law enforcement personnel will be increased and enforcement of all stadium policies will be enhanced. Special emphasis will include, but not be limited to:

* Abuse of intoxicants will not be tolerated. Fans will be ejected for abusing intoxicants
* Profanity and other offensive language will not be tolerated. Fans will be ejected for using profanity and offensive language
* Disorderly behavior will not be tolerated. Fans will be ejected or arrested for such behavior
* Abusive or threatening behavior directed at the visiting team, visiting team fans, visiting team officials and game officials will not be tolerated. Fans will be ejected for such behavior
* The promotion of the stadium's fan messaging service in which fans seeking assistance can immediately text 813-277-6501 or call 813-350-6501 will be dramatically increased
* The monitoring of alcohol sales and use will be enhanced.
* The stadium concessionaire will require identification from all fans purchasing alcohol. (Current practice requires identification only from those who appear to be 30 years of age or younger.)
* Additional undercover officers will be deployed to monitor and enforce all alcohol policies
* Ticket privileges will be revoked for those ejected from a game or arrested (policy will apply to season ticket holders, single-game ticket buyers and students)
* The fact that the USF Student Code of Conduct and Student Alcohol Policy extends to all games at Raymond James Stadium will be more effectively communicated to all students. Students who violate the policy will be subject to disciplinary action in accordance with USF policy

Ongoing Assessment and Review
* All policies and procedures will be subject to review and modification throughout the football season

Additional Information Regarding the "Be Respect-A-Bull" Campaign
* Videotaped message from Head Football Coach Jim Leavitt
* A full-page advertisement has been included in the football game program
* A full-page advertisement has been included in the Bulls Fan Guide
* Buttons were created with the campaign logo and are worn by Raymond James Stadium personnel and many USF staff in addition to being distributed at all home games
* Created flyers with the campaign message that were distributed at the first two home games
* Student, Alumni Association and staff campaign "ambassadors" roam the parking lots at all home games communicating the "Be Respect-A-Bull" message


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#1 : September 20, 2008, 12:12:50 PM

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