GUEST COMMENTARY: VU had a game plan in the event of bad weather

2011-09-14T00:00:00Z GUEST COMMENTARY: VU had a game plan in the event of bad weatherBy Mark LaBarbera nwitimes.com
September 14, 2011 12:00 am  • 

I read John Doherty's Sept. 5 column with great interest. First let me thank him and his friends for attending our Communiversity Day (Sept. 3) football game against Franklin College.

I am disappointed however, that he would choose to write a column about our game management procedures without talking with me or any members of the Valparaiso University athletics department to find out what severe weather policy we had in place had the weather taken a turn for the worse.

The game management staff, working with the Valparaiso University Police Department, was monitoring the weather on radar throughout the evening, beginning hours before kickoff when ominous weather began to develop just over the border in the Chicago area. The athletics training staff was also monitoring the situation throughout warm-ups and the game with an on-field lightning detector. Our event manager was in regular contact with the game officials.

The Athletics-Recreation Center, which is within 50 yards of Brown Field, was open, and preparations had been made to accommodate the crowd had the decision been made to evacuate the stadium.

In addition to the two entrances behind the home stands, the large gates at the west end of Brown Field were also able to be opened to the parking lot area to allow for spectators to exit, as were the gates in which the teams entered and exited the field at the southeast and southwest corners of the facility.

I am confident that had a situation arisen in which the stands needed to be cleared and the game needed to be delayed, we would have been able to safely do so. I am always available to answer questions regarding Valpo's athletics program and our sporting events.

Again, thanks for attending the game and supporting Northwest Indiana's hometown team!

Mark LaBarbera is Valparaiso University's athletics director. The opinion expressed in this column is the writer's and not necessarily that of The Times.

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