Following suit from other universities and professional sports teams across the country, Duke will phase in the use of metal detectors for men’s basketball games in Cameron Indoor Stadium as a pilot program — with possible further expansion into other athletic events on campus.
Duke Athletics will first use detectors for the Feb. 6 men’s home game against N.C. State University. Up to 20 detectors will be stationed inside and outside of entrances and all those in attendance -- from fans to game day staff -- will be required to pass through in an effort to enhance security at sporting events.
Kyle Cavanaugh, vice president for administration and Duke’s emergency coordinator, said that while such procedures have been commonplace with professional sports teams for years, many colleges and universities are increasing safety efforts.
“These additional security measures are part of Duke’s overall strategy to ensure a safe environment for our students, faculty, staff and the thousands of visitors who come to our campus every year,” he said.
Atlantic Coast Conference teams like N.C. State and the University of Louisville currently use metal detectors, and metal detectors are already mandated for use at all MLB, NBA, NFL and NHL games.
“To be sure, additional safety measures are becoming more necessary at popular venues, athletics or otherwise, around the country,” said Kevin White, Duke vice president and director of athletics. “It is not only our desire, but our obligation, to provide everyone entering Cameron with a first-class — and ultimately a safe — experience.”
Also during home games, pedestrian traffic along McClendon Plaza, the throughway space between the Krzyzewski Center for Athletic Excellence and Cameron, will not be permitted. That space, used for pre-game “Club Blue Devil” events, will be a ticketed area and requires entrance through Cameron.
Athletics officials encourage fans to arrive early to allow enough time for the new screening procedures. While the addition of metal detectors are not expected to create significant delays, it will take a little more time to get into Cameron.
Becca Wilusz, associate director of game operations and championships, said gates will continue to open 90 minutes before tipoff for students and 60 minutes prior for general public. Staff started receiving training in mid-January to help mitigate any potential delays once metal detectors are used.
On game days, signs will designate entry points for fans with medical and accessibility concerns as well as families. Athletics has partnered with Duke Disability Management System to ensure all fans can enter in a timely fashion.
To help quickly move people through the screening, signs will also alert fans of items that need to be removed from pockets and placed in small bowls as a person passes through a metal detector. Items include cell phones, large key rings, cameras and large metal objects.
“This is not like airport security, but it is similar to what we see at many professional sports stadiums,” Wilusz said
If metal is detected, a person will be required to go through a secondary screening with a wand so other fans can continue to move through the metal detector.
“If cell phones and large metal objects are out of pockets and you don’t have to be screened again, the process should only take a few seconds,” Wilusz said.
To help expedite entry, guests are asked to limit items brought into Cameron on game day. Though small bags are permissible, fans are encouraged to leave large bags such as backpacks at home or in vehicles to speed up the screening process.