USC implementing clear bag policy for athletic events

COLUMBIA — In an effort to enhance security, South Carolina is implementing a clear bag policy for all ticketed athletic events beginning with the 2016-17 academic year.

Approved bags must be clear plastic, vinyl or PVC that do not exceed 12 inches by 6 inches by 12 inches. The policy is similar to those implemented by the NFL and other college and professional stadiums. The first event under the new policy will be a men’s soccer game against Winthrop on Aug. 18.

“In meetings with security personnel around the Midlands and schools around the SEC, it has become evident that there is a new level of security measures that need to be implemented in our athletic venues,” USC athletic director Ray Tanner said in a statement. “We feel this new clear bag policy will assist security personnel in making entrance into our venues a more efficient process while making game day safer for everyone.”

Among prohibited bags are briefcases, backpacks, computer, diaper or camera bags, fanny packs, non-approved seat cushions including those which have pockets, and any purses larger than a clutch. Guests carrying bags that do not meet the criteria will not be admitted to the venue.

Local law enforcement agencies were in favor of the new policy. “Having a clear bag policy is the world that we live in right now,” said Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott. “Anytime you encourage large groups of people to come together, safety has to be in the forefront of your mind.”

— Clear plastic, vinyl or PVC bags that do not exceed 12” x 6” x 12” (A logo no larger than 4.5” x 3.4” can be displayed on one side of a permissible clear bag)

— One-gallon clear plastic freezer bag (Ziploc bag or similar)

— Small clutch bags no larger than 4.5” x 6.5” (approximately the size of a hand, with or without a handle or strap)

— Medically necessary items (after proper inspection at specified gates)

— Purses larger than a clutch bag

— Briefcases

— Backpacks

— Fanny packs

— Cinch/Drawstring bags

— Luggage of any kind

— Computer bags

— Diaper bags

— Binocular cases

— Camera bags

— Seat cushions that have pockets, zippers, compartments or covers

For a complete list of prohibited items, go to GamecocksOnline.com.