Moving LSU game a tough task for officials
Friday, September 23, 2005 - 6:24 p.m.
By Jim Kleinpeter
BATON ROUGE – Thus far this football season, LSU has played more moving games than football games.
They’ve moved one game back on the schedule, moved another out of town and this week, the school administration gets to try moving one back two days.
It’s easier said than done.
Moving the game between the No. 3-ranked Tigers and No. 10 Tennessee to Monday night will have officials scrambling through the weekend to get workers such as ticket takers, security and emergency personnel in place, along with trying to solve traffic and parking problems, not to mention anything else that might pop up.
“This is the first Monday night game in the modern era of LSU football, so it is hard to know what to expect from a weekday game,” LSU athletic director Skip Bertman said. “Some of our normal procedures will change for this game because we have to be mindful of the local community, so I am hopeful our fans will be tolerant of these special circumstances.”
“We feel like we have the running of a football game down pretty good, but this one has a lot of unknowns,” associate athletic director Herb Vincent said. “We’re going in blind not knowing exactly what challenges a weekday game presents us. We think we know, but there’s got to be something we’re not thinking of.”
Classes will not be in session at LSU on Monday with the possibility of post-hurricane cleanup and the possible use of the campus as an evacuation center again. Then there is traffic and parking. Baton Rougeans will be working Monday and with the added traffic from the Hurricane Katrina and Rita evacuees, there will be many more cars on the road just prior to the 6:30 p.m. kickoff.
School officials are asking fans not to arrive until mid-afternoon or later. Usually roads coming into the campus are made into one-way streets prior to kickoff, but Vincent said the school will not do that Monday. After the game Dalrymple Drive, Highland Road and St. Phillip Street will be available for one-way traffic.
Rita also threatens to dump a significant amount of rain on the city, which could force LSU to close many of the grass parking lots. But the school has cancelled classes Monday, which Vincent said should “streamline a lot of things for us. We have to make sure all the student vehicles are moved out of the football parking areas, and that should help,” he said.
A typical Saturday night also requires about 450 uniformed police from various agencies to provide security and traffic control. Vincent said there won’t be as many available and some could be called away for duties related to Hurricane Rita.
“We will have officers and intersections directing traffic,” he said.
Vincent said there might be a shortage of game marshals and ticket takers, jobs performed on a part-time basis by people with full-time jobs. Many will not be able to get away from their full-time jobs, so the school plans to use student-athletes in those roles.
“The rest will be determined by what happens tonight and tomorrow with Hurricane Rita,” Vincent said. “This is our first game in new Baton Rouge with the new population. It doesn’t necessarily affect traffic right here on campus, but it affects traffic everywhere else as you try to come to campus.”
The LSU ticket office will be closed Saturday but will reopen from noon until 6 p.m. Sunday, and Monday from 8 a.m. until halftime of the game. Motor homes are asked to depart campus by 7 a.m. Tuesday morning as classes will be back in session.