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Remember Louisville and Stay Off The Field

With 30,000 expected to attend and national television coverage on ESPN2, representatives of USF’s Athletic Department and the Tampa Sports Authority want to make sure Bulls’ fans get one important message before Friday’s game against Rutgers:

“Stay off the field.”

After last season’s stunning win over Louisville, dozens of fans rushed the field at Raymond James Stadium. Seven USF students were arrested, and at least one student was subdued by a security officer’s Taser.

As a precaution, USF and TSA held a meeting with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, Tampa Police Department, Florida Highway Patrol and Century Security on Tuesday to go over security policies.

After the Louisville game, students questioned the force used by security and law enforcement. During the game, many students claimed they were under the impression they could rush the field as long as they stayed clear of the goal post.

“We didn’t walk into the Louisville game thinking this would be a problem,” said Tom Veit, associate director of athletics.

According to Veit, the win against Louisville came as a surprise and students were never given the OK to rush the field.

“Last year there seemed to be some miscommunication, so we want to make the rules clear,” Veit said. “No one is allowed on the field – period.”

To get the message across, Veit and Mickey Farrell, director of operations for TSA, said fliers will be dispersed and signs will be posted around the perimeter of the field warning students to keep off the field. Jumbotrons will also broadcast the messages.

“If you come to the game Friday there is no way you will not know what the rules are,” Veit said.

Those are not the only changes made since the Louisville incident.

Farrell said TSA spent more than $15,000 on a retractable goal post to make rushing the field less attractive to students. As an alternative, Veit said they plan on bringing the players to the front of the student section at the end of the game so they can be part of the celebration.

“We don’t want to be the kill-joy police, but we have to be careful,” Veit said. “It would be very easy for someone to be trampled beneath 10 people jumping over the fence. I’m more worried about human damage than collateral damage.”