COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - The Gamecocks will open their season Saturday at noon against the Charleston Southern Buccaneers.
The USC Police Department partners with the Columbia Police Department, the Richland County Sheriff’s Department and the Department of Public Safety (DPS) for game days.
However, in the wake of Hurricane Dorian, many state agencies, including the South Carolina Department of Public Safety, are continuing to provide critical relief assistance on the coast for those impacted by the storms.
DPS officials said there will only be 10 Highway Patrol troopers assisting USC police with traffic. There are normally about 90 troopers assisting with traffic during game day.
“We have been through a few hurricanes recently that have made changes to our football schedule, so we’ve got a process in place where we can move law enforcement around to different areas that we need help,” Charles Bloom, the UofSC Associate Athletics Director, said. “Fans won’t notice much of a different. We ask them to be patient because there will be traffic.”
Police said they have developed a traffic management plan, but they don’t have the exact number of additional officers that will be filling in for the shortage of troopers.
Security procedures will be the same.
“We try to take as much measures as we can to make sure the fans feel safe without slowing down the process too much of getting in,” Bloom said.
Fans must have a clear bag, and items like backpacks, fanny packs, purses and umbrellas won’t be allowed.
“I know it aides in the process of getting in and ensuring that we are as safe as possible," a fan told WIS. "So I don’t mind it at all. It’s pretty nice.”
Bloom said it’s also important the fans stay hydrated during the game as temperatures are going to be in the 90s.
“I’m so nervous about the heat,” Caroline Byrd, a freshman UofSC, said. “I’m so hot-natured, so at least we have the rally towels to wipe it off so we’ll see how that works out.”
“The key is to make sure you are hydrated,” Bloom said. “We have the water available and we want you to stay as cool as possible.”
He said you are now allowed to bring in an unopened water bottle to the game.
Fans can also now bring in a clear empty water bottle to the game. There will be free refilling stations inside the stadium.