Students attending this Saturday’s game against South Alabama will experience an SEC rule new to Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. This year, event-goers will have to follow the clear bag policy implemented by the SEC in an effort to increase security at football games.
Bags larger than 4.5 inches by 6.5 inches must be made of clear plastic, vinyl or PVC. Clear bags may not exceed 12 inches by 6 inches by 12 inches. Approved logos may only be on one side of the bag and may be no larger than 4.5 inches by 3.4 inches.
“The safety of our fans will always be our No. 1 priority,” Michael Thompson, the senior associate athletics director for communications and marketing, said. “The transparency of the bag allows for efficient and effective screening of fans entering the stadium.”
Although this is the first year Ole Miss will implement the new rule, this is not the first time an SEC school will see this policy. During the 2016 football season, several other SEC schools enforced the policy. The rule was decided on after a unanimous vote from the athletic directors from the league’s 14 schools.
“SEC football stadiums are among the largest venues in the world of sports, so safety and security are issues that must always remain a priority for our events,” SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said in a press release. “We believe this policy is an important enhancement to the security measures already put in place by our institutions.”
Graduate student Kelley Hansbrough said she considers the policy an invasion of privacy.
“I understand why this new policy is at hand; however, I am not thrilled about it,” Hansbrough said. “This clear bag policy is a problem for females when it comes to privacy, and privacy is very important to most.”
Many local shops have begun selling more expensive clear bags, while online retailers are offering cheaper options.
Local businesses like Hinton & Hinton began selling clear bags for the 2017 football season. The store sells clear bags with red, tan and black leather trim with brass chains and clasps, giving Rebel fans plenty of options.
“They’re excited we have cute bags to offer,” buyer and sales manager Whitney Smith Turner said.
Despite several stores offering clear options, some are still wary of the trend.
“I’ve seen some bags around the Square but nothing that has caught my eye and really made me want a bag like that,” Hansbrough said. “I have not bought a clear bag yet for the game, and I’m really trying to decide if it is worth it. I know that I will never use one unless I’m going to a game here, and with it being my final year, I don’t think it is worth it.”