Fan stampede at UT/LSU game highlights need for crowd control
AUSTIN, Texas - Crowd control on a typical day at UT Austin is managed with traffic lights. Saturday at DKR, it was a free-for-all which was caught on camera by UT Senior Miranda Larralde.
She spoke with FOX 7 Monday before class. "I was scared, yeah,” said Miranda Larralde.
The chaos happened as the gates, to the student section, opened for the UT game with LSU. Miranda described the tense situation by saying, "After the gates immediately opened, everyone started pushing, I went forward, everyone went forward."
Miranda went on to say, “At that point me and my friends wanted to get out, but we couldn't there were too many people pushing us. And they were shoving me, almost elbowing me in my face, it was kind of dangerous."
Miranda posted the video, which she took from her cellphone, on social media. She also tagged U.T. Athletics Director Chris del Conte, who later responded by saying, he would be meeting with their customer service division, @texasfanfirst, and their security team to discuss the issue.
In another post he stated, they had “a few hiccups this weekend and will address them asap.”
"It was very appreciative he responded relatively quickly within an hour of me tweeting it, I was very glad that he did because now I know they are going to take action, rather than me tweeting it and nothing happening,” said Miranda.
The UT - LSU game was considered one of the hottest ticket of the season so far, and that created the crowd control challenge. Construction on the south part of the end zone was also a contributing factor to the problem. Some work has eliminated a few entry points.
Those entrances may not reopen until the project is completed in 2021.
By Monday, the area where the gameday Longhorn fan stampede took place showed no signs of what happened there. Preventing another occurrence may require thinking out of the box.
One idea pitch: using the airline boarding model. It involves providing entry by designated zones. For the stadium it could be done by sections.
Del Conte posted on social media the idea is being discussed, although they're not sure if it can be done under the current set up. Doing nothing is not an option according to the students who we spoke with. "I think a combination of between, the airport kind of simulation and sort of opening the gates earlier, I think that could alleviate a lot of the problem,” said U.T. Junior Zane Freeman.
Eliminating general admission, open seating, and going to reserve seating could also be a possibility. No official comment regarding the reserve seating idea was provided to FOX 7.