Oct. 7, 2009
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- University of Iowa Hawkeye football fans are being asked to follow "Safe Saturday" guidelines in Kinnick Stadium, in UI parking areas throughout Iowa City before, during and after the upcoming Iowa-Michigan game.
They're also being urged to make smart choices about personal safety to minimize the risk of accidents, assaults or other potential dangers, particularly since Saturday's game will end late at night. Kickoff is scheduled for just after 7 p.m.
Tom Rocklin, Interim UI vice president for student services, said the goal of Safe Saturday is to provide every fan with a safe and civil environment in which to enjoy game day.
Hawkeye Football Head Coach Kirk Ferentz encouraged fans to celebrate and cheer on the team, but to do so responsibly.
"There is little doubt that the environment on campus and inside Kinnick Stadium on Saturday will be very special, and rightfully so," Ferentz said. "It's an important game that will be played under very extraordinary and exciting circumstances. I have confidence our friends and fans will embrace the opportunity to represent our community, our institution and our football program in ways that are both passionate and nothing but positive."
Ferentz added, "I'm also hoping fans pace themselves through the day because we're going to need them to be at their very best at kickoff and throughout the game."
UI Athletics Director Gary Barta agreed, and reminded fans that the state of Iowa, the University of Iowa and the Hawkeyes are all on the national stage this weekend. "Let's plan for, first, a win; second, the fun and safety of our fans, staff and all others involved; and, third, leaving a positive and lasting impression on the country and the world," Barta said.
UI Police Director Chuck Green offered fans several tips to make sure they and everyone else can have a safe game day.
--Drink responsibly and legally, and designate a driver who will abstain from drinking alcohol.
--Walk with a group of trusted friends, keeping to sidewalks and well-lighted and populated areas.
--Arrange for someone to safely see you home at the end of the night.
Green urged pedestrians to be safe and to keep in mind that some of the drivers may be under the influence of alcohol and have slowed reaction times.
"It is extremely important for pedestrians to cross streets only at intersections and crosswalks," Green said. "It can be a dangerous mix having intoxicated pedestrians darting through traffic."
He also said people should avoid wandering off alone and should not assume that if they are talking on a cell phone that they are safe from assault or confrontation.
"When you're talking on a cell phone it's easy to become absorbed in a conversation and to forget to check your environment periodically," he said. "This is even more true if you've consumed alcohol, which further impairs your senses, balance, judgment and ability to safely cope with a potentially dangerous situation."
He also urged fans to respect one another as well as other people's property. People in need of assistance or help should feel free to contact any of the police officers or deputies at the game, on campus or in town. And in case of an emergency, dial 911.
"After all, our primary goal is for everyone to stay safe," Green said. "We want everyone that attends this week's game to have a positive experience here at the University of Iowa."