Football Town Hall meeting gives community members chance to hear official university football policies
On Monday, April 15, at 3 p.m., the Football Town Hall meeting was hosted in the UNC Charlotte McKnight Hall of the Cone University Center. The majority of attendees were university staff and faculty. Few students were in attendance.
During the meeting, the official university tailgating policy was gone through step-by-step by Dr. Michele Howard, associate vice chancellor for student affairs. The entire policy is available online, and it is recommended that those planning to tailgate read the policy in its entirety before attending any tailgating.
The policy will be active during tailgating for the Green and White Spring Football game Saturday, April 20. According to the university tailgating policy, tailgating can begin four hours before a game. Tailgating will begin at 9 a.m. Tailgating must end two hours after the completion of the game, to allow campus to get back to regular operating ability as soon as possible.
Attendees of the game will not be able to exit and reenter the stadium during the game.
Areas where tailgating is not permitted will be marketed. These locations include recreational fields, the botanical gardens, the chancellor’s property and the on-campus graveyard. Tailgating areas cannot impede vehicular traffic.
University policy 706 regarding on-campus alcohol regulates alcohol use during tailgating. Kegs and other communal sources of alcohol will be prohibited. People must be able to present a valid ID. Drinking games will also not be permitted during tailgating.
“You can play corn hole, because that is a big part of tailgating culture. But you cannot turn tailgating into a drinking game,” said Dr. Howard.
Grills will be permitted in parking lots, but not in decks or on fields. Open pit fires are prohibited, and large cookers are prohibited everywhere but in Lot 25.
Household furniture will be prohibited as well.
Inside the stadium, use of tobacco products, drugs, alcohol, vulgar language or otherwise illegal or disruptive behavior will not be tolerated. Attendees of the games will also not be allowed on the sidelines or on the field.
“After we win the game 49 to nothing, please do not rush the field,” said Dr. Howard.
John George, assistant athletic director for tickets, provided an outline of ticketing and seating for football games. Ticket information is all available on the Charlotte 49er webpage.
For the spring game on Saturday, tickets will be available prior to the game. Gates at the game will be open to those with tickets at 11:30 a.m.
Tickets for the regular season games are available exclusively online for FSL holders as of now.
“We have about 300 remaining of the initial 5,000,” said George.
To receive information about tickets as it is released, George urges that fans be added to the list serve for information by emailing email@example.com.
Student tickets will be available online. Any unclaimed student tickets will be released for sale to the general public.
Student sections in the stadium are general admission seating, and those with student tickets will be able to enter the stadium through Gates 4 and 5. There are approximately 7,500 seats in the student seating section. The student section is also proposed to be nicknamed the Gold Mine.
Trent Barnes, associate director and stadium complex manager, spoke on information regarding the stadium. Barnes reiterated the no re-entry policy that will be enacted during game days.
The stadium has 16 restrooms and two family restrooms that come complete with baby changing stations. Strollers are prohibited inside the stadium, and they can be checked in at a guest service location near Gates 1 and 2.
Outside food and drink, footballs, umbrellas and bags larger than 8x10x14 will not be allowed inside the stadium.
“Each patron will be able to bring in one empty clear water bottle. That fits in with our Zero Waste Initiative. We will have some bottle filling stations,” said Barnes. “We hope that this cuts down on our waste.”
There will also be recycling and trash at tailgating stations, and the stadium will have recycling, trash and compost stations. These are provided to work with the Zero Waste Initiative and works with the Charlotte Green Initiative.
Karen Shaffer, assistant vice chancellor and director of student activities, discussed the way that homecoming and weekend activities will be changed with football.
“That doesn’t mean that we won’t have other activities on the weekend, but those will be the main activities,” said Shaffer.
Homecoming will hopefully include a concert the Thursday before the homecoming game, which they aim to have performed by a national artist. Friday will include a Parade of Lights that Shaffer hopes will include members of the surrounding Charlotte community, a pep rally and the Union Take Over. On game day a marching band from a local high school will come to perform during the games.
A new path on campus, Niner Way, will be a walkway used to connect the stadium with Craver Road. This path will be used by players, tailgaters and other fans.
Senior students will also be able to apply to be the bell ringer, who will ring the bell on game days prior to the game and after each score.
The university Alma Mater is also hoped to be played after each game.
Chris Thomasson, associate athletic director for football, discussed the weekend rundown for the football team. The players will have a curfew and bed check Friday night before a game. At 9:49 a.m., the team will walk down the new Niner Way, heading towards the stadium to prepare for warm up and then the game.
All games will begin at noon. Thomasson says we will receive our conference schedule in January or February of 2014.
Nick Konawalik, assistant athletic director for marketing, provides information regarding social media platforms available to provide more information to football fans prior to games.
“The Fan Guide is another form of information that we have. It was a collaboration of all of the committees that we have,” said Konawalik. This guide includes information on parking and tailgating, ticket and venue information, travel information, scheduling and social media.
Judy Rose, director of athletics at UNC Charlotte thanked the committee in charge of preparing football information and planning everything. “We already know more than we did, and we’ll be super ready by Aug. 31,” said Rose.
Chancellor Phil Dubois reiterated the fact that this is a learning experience for the university, saying that everything will not be perfect for the first few games, but as problems become present policies will be changed and adapted to properly fix and better problems.
“It’s a balancing act along the way,” said Dubois.
The floor was answered the questions, which included questions about the permitted water bottle and the FSL.
The FSL allows the owner to purchase season tickets for the rest of their lives, and the owner of the FSL will be permitted to transfer the pass to anyone, whether sold or otherwise transferred. It is also eight percent tax deductable.
“For folks who weren’t around however, many years ago when we made this decision, [FSL] was something we really hit on to finance the football. As we grow over time we’ll decide whether we have additional seat licenses available,” said Dubois. “After the first few games, or seasons depending on how many games we lose in a row, just kidding, we’ll see a lot of flexibility in terms of tickets as people give them to their friends or make them available for resale.”
Parking across W.T. Harris Blvd. will not be available for football as of now. Kohl’s does have a tow policy for those not shopping there, and there is no word yet on whether the owners of these stores will make the parking lot open to football attendees and charge for parking.
After the audience completed questions, Dubois closed the forum and ended the Town Hall meeting. All information regarding the policies discussed during this meeting will be available on the athletics webpage and through the official university policies.