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J. Fred stadium to host second game with new restrictions

Rick Wagner • Sep 7, 2018 at 12:51 PM

KINGSPORT — Remember: No over-sized seats, no backpacks or large bags or coolers, no livestreaming video and no outside food when you head out to J. Fred Johnson Stadium this evening.

And bags that are allowed will be subject to inspection, possibly by the same security company that does University of Tennessee football game security in Neyland Stadium and Bristol Motor Speedway security.

When Dobyns-Bennett High School’s Tribe plays its second home football game at the stadium, against Sevier County with kickoff at 7:30 p.m., the same security firm that has been on site the past two years will be there enforcing new policies that went into effect at the first home game Aug. 17 as well as older policies.

“Generally, I think it went well,” Kingsport City Schools Athletics and Activities Director Larry Shively said Thursday of the policies implementation at the Greeneville game. “Any type of change can be difficult.” A temporary change includes parking lost to the construction of the D-B Science and Technology Center and the shifting of most handicapped parking to the city lot where the old Highway Patrol building once stood, next to the veterans’ memorial.

He said that one of the new rules that has forced people to return to their cars is that stadium seats be no wider than 14 inches and not have arms or cup holders. He said those sold in the Activities Office are 12 inches wide.

Shively said that the first home game Aug. 17 versus Greeneville drew a crowd of about 10,000 because of the close proximity of the opponent and football fans from around the region since some high school teams played on Thursday night because of the Bristol Motor Speedway race Friday. In addition, that race meant a “skeleton crew” from Axis Security Inc., the company that has done security for D-B games for two years and also does security for UT Knoxville football, Science Hill High, the annual Bonnaroo music festival and soon Tennessee High in Bristol, Shively said.

“Greeneville brought the whole town,” he said of the defending state champions. “It took a little bit longer than we anticipated” to get fans in the stadium.

“We did have several backups, but I will take that all day if everybody is safe,” he said, citing national reports of shootings at high school football games already this season. This evening, he said a full contingent of 15 Axis security officers will be on hand, as well as eight Kingpsort Police offices and D-B administrative staff among the five public gates to the stadium.

As outlined on a flier, tobacco and electronic cigarettes are banned, as are alcohol, drugs and all controlled substances, in addition to pets, although service animals will be allowed with “appropriate documentation,” the flier says. In addition, umbrellas, outside food or drink, backpacks, coolers or large bags, “oversized stadium seats, folding chairs or objects that may impede” on the comfort and safety of others are banned, including portable heaters and fan, artificial noise makers, bicycles, skateboards and balls of any kind.

The policies also allow no re-entry, no refunds, no loitering inside or outside the stadium, no livestreaming “for any reason,” no running or horseplay and no tresspassing after school hours, the flier says. He said no violations of the livestreaming policy were found at the Greeneville game. “We love for people to come out and support our student athletes and support our program,” he said. In the past, he said livestreamers had set up tripods on the sidelines.

All people entering the stadium are subject to a search, and violators of policies will be asked to leave the stadium.

Although the flier doesn’t include the banning of drones, Shively said they are not allowed, either, except for drones there on behalf of the school system. The school system also livestreams selected none-game portions of the evening, Shively and Assistant Superintendent of Administration Andy True said.

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