Fans will encounter new rules
Published: Friday, September 1, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, August 31, 2006 at 11:27 p.m.
Even old pros attending Gator football games should take note of changes this year including stricter enforcement of road closures near Ben Hill Griffin Stadium and new rules about ticket scalping and sales.
Tighter security measures and construction projects will change travel routes for motorists trying to drive onto campus to see the Gators take on Southern Mississippi Saturday.
Starting two hours before the 6 p.m. kickoff, vehicle traffic will be halted on Lemerand Drive from University Avenue to Stadium Road, said University Police Capt. Earl Crews.
The rule actually went into effect following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in 2001, Crews said. But campus police have decided on stricter enforcement of the road closure than in past years. Fans who park just west of the stadium near the O'Connell Center will be routed into the parking area through northern entrances along University Avenue and SW 2nd Avenue.
"We're not trying to inconvenience people. We're just trying to make it as safe as possible for people," Crews said. He said the decision also is meant to safeguard pedestrians entering the stadium before the game.
All construction projects around Gainesville will be shut down for the game weekend, said Florida Department of Transportation spokeswoman Gina Busscher. That will include road work near UF along SW 2nd Avenue and W. University Avenue. All lanes of both roads are expected to be open by Saturday, Busscher said.
Gainesville Police will be citing people for open container violations, said police spokesman Sgt. Keith Kameg.
But, after questions were raised last year over issues involving out-of-state residents and notices to appear, city police won't routinely jail non-Floridians for misdemeanor offenses such as open container violations. The change came after publicity surrounding the arrest of two Knoxville residents for open container violations on W. University Avenue. People now will receive a form from police that shows them options for dealing with the citation so that out-of-towners don't always have to come back to Gainesville to resolve the citation, Kameg said.
Gainesville Police, however, likely won't be assigning officers to look for ticket scalpers, now that a new state law has been enacted.
The law, effective July 1, allows tickets to be sold for whatever price the buyer agrees to pay. Previously, tickets could only be sold for more than $1 above the face value of the ticket.
But the law change has no impact on campus because of a caveat forbidding the sale of tickets on private property without the written consent of the owner. On campus, the owner is UF, which only allows recognized ticket outlets to sell passes for sporting and entertainment events, said Bill Holloway, assistant athletics director overseeing ticket operations.
The rule, however, doesn't mean University Police are going to cite the average person trying to sell one ticket.
"We're not looking for moms and dads who have two extra tickets that they are trying to sell," Crews said. "We're looking for people who are selling a lot of tickets."
The scalping rules have changed but Holloway said fans desperate for a ticket need to remember they're taking a risk when they don't buy from regular ticket outlets. The tickets they buy could be counterfeit.
Last year, Holloway said the sale of counterfeit ticket for the Florida-Georgia game in Jacksonville was a huge problem. People don't realize they've been had until they show up at the stadium and find others trying to claim the same seats. Holders of counterfeit tickets will be asked to leave the game, and UF can't provide a refund or replacement tickets, he said.
The Gator faithful probably will notice that some of the popular haunts around town have undergone alterations.
Lise Fisher can be reached at 374-5092 or email@example.com.
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