Security Concerns

With the Big Twelve instituting a rule that prohibits fans from coming onto the field, Texas Tech has promised to beef up security for this weekends match up with in-state rival Texas A&M. The last time these two teams met in Lubbock, Texas Tech fans rushed the field and brought down the goal posts.

Texas Tech Athletic Director Gerald Meyers is aware of the nature of this in-state rivalry. While Texas A&M often brings big crowds, the past two meetings have been marred by post-game problems. "This will be the biggest game and the biggest crowd," said Meyers. Texas Tech plans to have extra security personnel at the game. There will also be an increase in personnel from the Texas Department of Public Safety and local law enforcement.

Another change is that Texas Tech has said it will arrest people who enter the playing surface. In the past Texas Tech has increased security, but there haven't been any actual arrests. This policy has changed according to Meyers. "If anyone comes out of the stands they will be arrested," said Meyers. Meyers acknowledges that if thousands of fans rush the field, there is no way to arrest them all. "We will arrest what we can," said Meyers. Those arrested will face the possibility of having their ticket privileges denied for the rest of the football season. This will apply to both students and non-students.

Another potential source of problems is the late kick off. The unusually late start will probably increase the number of intoxicated fans at game time. Texas Tech has a plan for this. "Anyone who is deemed to be intoxicated prior to the game will be arrested," said Meyers. He also promised increased surveillance prior to the game in order to curtail this problem.

Meyers said that the university and football program could face penalties from the Big 12 if fans come onto the playing surface. While the possibility is certainly there, it remains to be seen if the Big Twelve will actually enforce these possible penalties. Following the incident in Kansas last week, the Big Twelve did not hand out a punishment. Regardless of possible punishments, it is in the fan's best interest to stay in the stands after the game. Meyers cited several incidents in the past few years that have ended with fans being hospitalized for extended lengths of time. "It is unfortunate that the climate in college athletics has come to this," said Meyers.

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