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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

7-foot wall blocks Zona Zoo seats

Ernie Somoza/ Arizona Daily Wildcat

Arizona Athletics introduces a newly constructed 5 ft wall at the University of Arizona football stadium made to block Zona Zoo fans from rushing the field.
Ernie Somoza
Ernie Somoza/ Arizona Daily Wildcat Arizona Athletics introduces a newly constructed 5 ft wall at the University of Arizona football stadium made to block Zona Zoo fans from rushing the field.

Zona Zoo fans wanting to rush the field will have a new obstacle this football season.

A 7-foot concrete wall blocks the student section. The wall runs the 140-yards of the stadium.

Students sitting in the first row of the Zona Zoo section cannot see over the wall without standing. The field is visible from all other rows.

“”You can sit in the second row and still see the sideline,”” said Suzy Mason, associate athletic director for Events and Operations. “”Since 1998, I’ve never seen our student population sit.””

The wall was estimated to cost $190,000 and was funded by Arizona Athletics.

Facilities Management installed the wall as a response to students continually trying to rush the field.

“”We’ve had different field rushes, and that’s a big concern of ours,”” Mason said.

Students who rush the field put themselves in danger from the football players and equipment.

“”It’s some pretty defenseless and unprotected people,”” Mason said. “”The field isn’t meant for the fans.””

Mason said the “”impetus”” for the wall was the football game against Oregon last November; the pressure from Zona Zoo fans attempting to rush the field broke a section of the previous wall.

“”We actually physically removed the wall so no one impaled themselves during the rush,”” Mason said.

The wall was built with input from Facilities Management, Risk Management and Safety, and University of Arizona Police Department.

“”We all came up with ideas that would keep the environment, keep the fun,”” Mason said.

The wall aims to provide a more secure barrier between the fans and the field.

“”It’s meant to protect students and players,”” said Herbert Wagner, associate director for Risk Management and Safety.

Wagner said the wall poses no risk to students and will not change any procedures.

“”We’ve looked at it,”” Wagner said. “”It’s really not an issue from our standpoint.””

Wagner said one fan scraped her foot on the wall at the football scrimmage last week.  The bolt that caused the injury has been removed.

UAPD will also maintain its current procedures for football game security.

“”We’re still planning to do the same things we’ve always done,”” said Sgt. Juan Alvarez, public information officer for UAPD. “”At this time, we’re not changing any procedures.””

Mason said students may continue to attempt rushing the field but will have greater difficulty.

“”I think it’ll slow the process for sure,”” Mason said.

Some students see rushing the field as an important aspect of a football game.

“”I think sometimes it’s necessary,”” said engineering sophomore Bryan LaFrese. “”Rushing the field is something you do.””

Other students believe the wall is necessary.

“”I mean, if they thought it was a big enough issue, I guess they solved it,”” said creative writing sophomore Tim Gallant.

A student who tries to jump over the wall will face serious injuries.

“”It’s quite a drop on the other side,”” Wagner said. “”It’s a deterrent, and students should stay in the stands.””

LaFrese said the wall might not stop students during a significant victory.

“”I think if someone wants to rush the field, they’ll (still) find a way,”” LaFrese said.

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