Originally published April 19, 2017 at 11:22a.m., updated April 19, 2017 at 06:17p.m.
The University of Kansas has received formal approval to ban guns from games at Allen Fieldhouse and Memorial Stadium.
Metal detectors and guards would be put in place for men’s basketball and football games, primarily, but also to any other sporting event expected to draw more than 5,000 to the facilities, under a proposal approved Wednesday morning by the Kansas Board of Regents governance committee.
Kansas law requires state universities to allow concealed handguns on their campuses beginning July 1. The law allows exceptions for facilities where adequate security measures such as metal detectors and guards are set up — either permanently or temporarily — to ensure no one takes a gun inside.
Kansas Board of Regents policy further states that if this is done at athletic events, a notice must be printed on tickets that guns won’t be allowed in.
Kansas State and Wichita State universities also got approval to deploy security measures and ban guns from major sporting events, Regents spokeswoman Breeze Richardson said. The remaining Regents universities — Emporia State, Fort Hays State and Pittsburg State — did not request permission to do so.
Allowing the exceptions passed 4-1 in the Regents governance committee, with committee member Shane Bangerter voting against it.
“I don’t think that having adequate security measures at an event like that makes us any safer, or any less safe,” Bangerter said.
“It seems to me it’s a waste of resources and people’s time.”
Under the Regents weapons policy, only the governance committee, not the full board, needs to hear and approve requests to install security measures keeping guns out of buildings, Richardson said.
Capacity at Allen Fieldhouse — where a large percentage of fans squeeze side by side onto bench seats — is 16,300. Men’s basketball games currently are the only routine events there that draw crowds over 5,000.
Memorial Stadium's capacity is 50,000.
“It’s a good idea, I think, for that kind of large-scale public event,” KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little said. “It provides a measure of safety for the participants.”
The Journal-World first reported in January that KU would seek approval for security measures at Allen Fieldhouse and Memorial Stadium.
Deputy athletics director Sean Lester said at that time it was estimated to cost more than $1 million, with funding coming from KU Athletics' operating budget.
For men’s basketball games at Allen Fieldhouse, expect wands and portable metal detectors to ensure no one gets in with a gun, Lester previously told the Journal-World. The number of entrances may need to be reduced, which could slow down the process of getting fans to their seats.
Security measures at Memorial Stadium will probably be similar, he said, but KU Athletics and the university are still working out details to deal with implementation in the “antiquated” facility with a myriad of entry points.
Jim Marchiony, KU associate athletic director for public affairs, said Wednesday that KU Athletics was not sharing any more specifics at this time.
The law and statewide Kansas Board of Regents weapons policy also allow universities to set up temporary security measures to ban guns from certain events. Lists of such events must be presented to the Regents governance committee.
The committee on Wednesday also heard requests from universities to ban guns from certain “restricted access areas,” which took place in executive session.
A list of such areas won’t be shared publicly, for safety and security reasons, campus and Regents officials said.
However, KU attorneys have said that areas beyond the lobby of on-campus child care centers — where only employees and parents are allowed, not the public — may be one such place. Parents would be pre-screened and told that guns aren’t allowed in the child care areas.
Another example might be the brain imaging center at the KU Medical Center. No metal objects of any kind are allowed around the multimillion dollar magnetic imaging equipment used there.
Along with metal detectors at men’s basketball and football games, University of Kansas fans should brace for another new procedure at all ticketed KU sports events come fall: no more purses.
“We are going to a clear bag policy for all our ticketed events,” said Jim Marchiony, KU’s associate athletics director for public affairs. “Basically if it’s bigger than your hand, you’re going to have to bring those contents in a clear bag.”
The rule will apply to most KU sports, including football, men’s and women’s basketball, soccer, volleyball, softball and baseball, Marchiony said.
Any nonclear bag larger than 8.5-by-5.5-inches (about the size of a small clutch) will be prohibited, Marchiony said. Instead fans may bring items in plastic bags up to 12-by-12-inches (about the size of a gallon freezer bag).
“We’re doing it for safety reasons and to have entry more expeditious than it is now,” Marchiony said. “Rather than having to dig through bags, which has been happening for a while ... clear bags of a specific size make the process more expeditious.”
KU has gained Kansas Board of Regents approval to set up metal detectors and ban concealed handguns from games expected to draw more than 5,000 fans to Allen Fieldhouse and Memorial Stadium. However, lawfully carried concealed handguns will be allowed at other campus buildings and sports events, under a Kansas law that takes effect July 1.
Marchiony said the list of other items fans can’t take into sports events — such as other weapons, alcohol, food and animals — will remain the same.