There will be some new regulations for fans at the Penguins' opener Thursday against Clarion.
By PETE MOLLICA
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
YOUNGSTOWN -- As the Youngstown State University Penguins prepare to open the 2002 season Thursday night against Clarion University at Stambaugh Stadium, there will be some changes both on and off the field.
Head coach Jon Heacock will welcome several first-time starters, while the management of football game-day will include some new fan regulations.
The YSU Athletic Department will continue with several stadium security measures instituted last fall following the incidents of Sept. 11.
"Our security measures at the stadium this year will be a balance of both safety and a friendly atmosphere for our fans," said Rick Love, associate director of athletics.
No cans, bottles, coolers or umbrellas will be allowed in the public areas of the stadium. Backpacks, fanny packs, containers of any size or televisions will also not be allowed in the stadium. Pagers, cell phones, radios and purses are permissible.
"We realize weather plays a factor in football games," added Love. "Appropriate apparel for weather conditions may be worn or carried through the gates."
Fans with special health and medical-related concerns should use the main ticket office entrance at the north end of the west stands. Campus police and game ushers will assist fans.
Vehicles with valid handicap parking passes may enter the back of the east stands off of the service road from Fifth Avenue. Additional handicap parking is available in the Wick Avenue Parking deck, where a shuttle will be provided to the stadium.
Gates for all home games will open 90 minutes prior to kickoff. Tailgating will only be permitted in the three tailgate lots (M-24, M-26 and F-2) with entrances off Fifth Avenue.
"Obviously, we encourage fans to arrive early and enjoy the atmosphere of tailgating, pre-game bands and other activities at the Saturday home games," added Love.
The first 15,000 fans at Thursday's 7:30 p.m. opener will receive a YSU schedule magnet.
A special opening night fireworks display will be provided by Phantom Fireworks immediately following the game.
ClearChannel Youngstown will air games on Big 106.1 FM and WNIO AM-1390, starting 30 minutes before kickoff.
Ticket office hours for the opener will be from 9 a.m. through 6 p.m. when the gates open. Fans may call (330) 941-1YSU to reserve tickets.