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Keeping the Crowd Safe

IOWA CITY, IA (CBS2/FOX28) -- More than 15,000 fans were at Carver-Hawkeye Arena for Iowa's game against Michigan State.

With all home games for the rest of the season sold out, traffic patterns and crowd management are priorities for athletic department staff.

As the clock ticks down to tip off, and more people come in to the arena, it's exciting for fans but it would be a mess if not for arena staff.

"You can feel it in the building," said University of Iowa Associate Athletic Director Rick Klatt. "There's an electricity, its hard to explain."

"It's one of the loudest arenas I've ever been in," said University Band Graduate Teaching Assistant Kevin Kessler.

"There's just a feeling of electricity in the atmosphere at carver right now," said University Band Graduate Teaching Assistant Steven Riley.

But before the electricity can get ramped up inside, people have to get to the arena. A 6 pm tip-off means fans coming in as thousands of staff are leaving.

"And we share parking lots and we share streets so the message to give our fans coming to carver tonight is really patience," said Klatt.

He says its nothing like games on Saturdays, when the lots are empty. Once in the arena, Klatt says security is fully staffed just like any other event. He says concession stands will be have have all workers at each window, something that isn't done for less popular games.

"I know what we expect as an Athletic Department is that fans can move pretty easily through the concession stands and that when they buy a soft drink the soft drink is cold and the hot dog is hot," said Klatt.

Once the game starts, fans take over partially thanks to the pep band. While stadium staff makes sure fans get to their seats, the pep band makes sure they're not always sitting in them.

"We usually get the entire arena standing and clapping to the fight song and just seeing 16,000 people standing and doing that is absolutely incredible," said Riley.

"I think it almost makes them young again," said Kessler. "It makes them feel like they're part of the student section again."

And that's a safe home court advantage.

 
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