MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) - Heavy rain will dampen conditions, but it won't delay the Memphis Tigers football game Thursday night. University of Memphis athletic leaders said Thursday's 2017 home opener at the Liberty Bowl against Louisiana-Monroe is still a go, on a night where heavy rain is expected from tropical storm Harvey.
Memphis athletics leaders said they checked forecasts and had discussions with Louisiana-Monroe and broadcast crews before deciding, adding there's a difference between uncomfortable and unsafe.
Fans who do head through the gates Thursday night are reminded, you aren't allowed to bring umbrellas, and there'll also be a new bag policy in place.
Memphis Senior Associate Athletic Director Steve Macy admits while a rainy football game isn't ideal, it's nothing compared to the logistical headaches of moving a kickoff to another date.
"It's going to be a wet one,” says Macy. "People have asked a little bit, it's going to be a little bit uncomfortable. It would be better the next day, yeah, but you are talking about moving 150 people with the visiting team, home team, hotels, flights, buses."
Even with the Tigers game still on, emergency management crews keep tabs on the radar inside the Liberty Bowl, and follow the American Athletic Conference's lightning policy if any emerges in the area.
"If there's lightning within 15 miles, we inform the crowd, if it gets within 8 miles, it gets called for a period of time until there's no lightning for 30 minutes,” says Macy.
And then there's the Liberty Bowl's new bag policy, designed to improve safety and the entry process into the stadium.
"It definitely changes what a lot of fans have been used to bringing in,” says Liberty Bowl General Manager Thomas Carrier.
Bags which are allowed include:
- A clear plastic, vinyl, or PVC not exceeding 12” high by 6” wide or 12” long
- A one-gallon clear plastic freezer bag
- Clutch bags the size of a hand
Things no longer allowed include:
- Large purses
- Camera cases
- Binocular cases
- Diaper bags
- Fanny packs
- Mesh bags
- Clear backpacks
"We are going to have signage through the property, reminding people, our fans, so our hope is that by the time they get to the gate, they know about the clear bag policy,” says Carrier.
This bag policy is already in place in the National Football League and seven other teams in the AAC. Clear bags will also be sold to fans who need them on Tiger Lane and outside Gates 1 and 3.