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April 1, 2008
By Jane Tors
The University of Nevada, Reno will increase efforts to create a more fan- and family-friendly environment at Mackay Stadium for the upcoming home football season, with added steps in place to promote positive and responsible fan behavior, University President Milton Glick announced today.
“All of our efforts are aimed at ensuring that whenever any fan walks through the gates of Mackay Stadium this fall, they will know that the atmosphere will be safe and friendly,” Glick said. “I’m confident the steps we will be taking this fall will help accomplish that goal.”
Glick also announced that beer-only sales will continue at Mackay Stadium. He added that his decision is for the coming season only, at which time the University’s administration will review the alcohol policy for home games.
Glick reached his decision after consulting with officials in the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics, leadership in the University’s Division of Student Services, elected leaders from the Associated Students of the University of Nevada (ASUN) and the Graduate Student Association (GSA), University Police Services, as well as receiving feedback from the community, which included Wolf Pack athletics season ticket holders.
“In our discussions with the community (which included a survey of season ticket holders), we found that many Wolf Pack football fans felt that alcohol had a negative impact on their game-day experience,” Glick said. “Yet, at the same time, these fans also said that they didn’t necessarily want the removal of alcohol, provided that measures were taken to improve the security and the behavior of certain fans at our home games.
“We are hopeful that by continuing the limited sale of beer at our home games, as well as adding several new steps in our safety and fan behavior awareness program at Mackay, we will be able to find a good middle ground for all concerned. We will be revisiting this issue at the end of the season, and it is my hope we will find many positive benchmarks regarding responsible fan behavior at our home games.”
Glick said that the online survey conducted by the University showed that 78 percent of season ticket holders supported the continued sale and consumption of beer and alcohol. Yet, a little more than half (51 percent) felt that the sale of beer and alcohol had a negative impact on the fan- and family-friendly environment. The same survey was available through the Reno Gazette-Journal and Wolf Pack athletics websites, and resulted in a comparable response.
Glick also said the University took into account an ASUN Senate resolution passed earlier this year that reiterated the students’ support of the current alcohol policy at Mackay Stadium, which allows beer sales at the stadium, including purchase of one beer, per person.
“Throughout this process, we’ve gone to the community and to our students and we have listened very carefully to what our fans have had to say,” Glick said. “We are looking to the community to help us improve the game-day experience. It is important to remember that the vast majority of Wolf Pack fans are great fans. These measures target a very small number of fans, whose behavior can, unfortunately, have a significant impact on those around them at our home games.”
Cary Groth, director of intercollegiate athletics, said the steps that the University will be taking this season will help further efforts in creating the best possible environment for players, coaches and fans – including the Wolf Pack’s opponents, many of whom may be visiting Reno for the first time.
“A winning environment for fans means a winning environment for the Wolf Pack,” she said. “I think our Wolf Pack fans are in agreement that we want to create the best home field advantage for our team. The steps we will be taking this season will help us do that. They are simple, commonsense ways to improve the game-day experience that hopefully our fans will appreciate.”
Added Glick: “An awareness program like this can only be successful with the support of the community. We ask our community to partner with us in creating a positive, winning environment that promotes responsible behavior by all fans.”
Changes at Mackay Stadium will include new gate entrance policies; increased monitoring of sales points for beer; additional training of security, ushers and sales personnel; encouragement of fans to report unruly behavior; new methods for such reports to be expeditiously handled by security; heightened awareness of the fans’ responsibility to create a fan- and family-friendly venue through improved signage and game-day policy information; sales will continue to be limited to one beer per person, per purchase; sales will close at the end of halftime; the University will enforce a “no tolerance” policy inside Mackay Stadium for any inappropriate behavior. If a fan is ejected, they may face arrest. If the fan is a season ticket holder, they will lose their season ticket privileges.
“I wish to thank the Wolf Pack’s fans who offered their input, as well as the Reno Gazette-Journal for their assistance with our game-day survey,” Glick said. “The attendance at Mackay Stadium has steadily increased over the past three seasons, and the steps we will be taking this fall will hopefully help that growth to continue. To make the game-day experience truly special for everyone, we need the continued support of all Wolf Pack fans.”