Cal Athletics and the UCPD announced this morning that they will be adopting the NFL Bag policy that has been sweeping the college scene in recent years. Previously, while Memorial Stadium had already banned backpacks in 2014, they still allowed draw-string bags and non-clear plastic and re-usable bags inside the stadium. Furthermore, there were also no bag restrictions at Haas Pavilion. I know I’ve waltzed in with a large backpack with a laptop on Thursday/Friday nights. But no more.
From now on, only clear 12x12x6 bags will be allowed into Memorial AND Haas, effective next week when Cal Volleyball opens their season at home on August 26. The only exceptions are plastic food bags, non-clear “clutch” bags that are between 4.5 and 6.5 inches tall and wide respectively, and diaper/medical bags provided you enter through a special entrance and (in the case of diaper bags) have your baby with you.
It was not 100% clear in the press release nor the FAQ whether other venues, like Edwards Stadium and Evans Diamond will also reject backpacks but it seems like this rule only applies to Haas and Memorial.
Note that 12x12x6 is pretty small. Most clear re-usable and tote bags meet the 12x12x6 but almost every clear backpack that I’ve found on Amazon exceed 12 inches in height. The e-mail does say clear backpacks are allowed provided they don’t go over that size, so I’d play it safe and avoid buying any exceeding a foot in height. Luckily, if you don’t feel secure having expensive objects in an open bag, these days you can still find 12x12x6 tote bags with zippers and multiple pockets.
Personally, I ordered this on Amazon, and searching “clear tote bag” gives a lot of clear 12x12x6 bags with zipper openings and multiple pockets, some cheaper (and/or durable/spacious) than others. At times, Cal has given away free open (no zipper) clear bags to season ticket holders and during promotional events, so you could hope for that to happen again.
While I do understand this rule and it doesn’t really make a difference to me (my room is full of various types of bags and as I said I just bought a new one), I can see this being a problem. Especially with Thursday night basketball games (particularly the 6-7pm games) where students coming straight from class, a rehearsal, or a club meeting may not want to go out of their way to change or drop off their bags at home and opt to skip the game instead. Hopefully this does not cause a dramatic drop in attendance. Ideally Cal Athletics will install a simple and easy bag check-in at basketball games like they do for football.
My recommendation is to plan ahead of time. If you know it’s a gameday, put all your school supplies in the tote bag and don’t bring anything you don’t need. Or just wear the tote bag to school every day! I’m sure it’ll be all the rage now. This would be easier if 12x15x12 backpacks were allowed, but what are you going to do?
Is this policy going to be a problem for you? Do you dislike it even if it isn’t going to be a problem for you? Do you like it even if it will be? Sound off in the comments. Hope to still see you all at games this season. Go Bears!