Cal Poly’s men’s soccer tied UC Santa Barbara at Friday’s Blue-Green Rivalry game — but for some students, it was a total loss.
The University Police Department (UPD) arrested 12 Cal Poly students for public intoxication, disorderly conduct or both at the game. Most of the arrests came in the second half, and San Luis Obispo police were present to drive those arrested to the county jail.
While the 12 arrests were roughly twice as many as last year, UPD Police Chief George Hughes said his staff had fewer problems this time around because students needed tickets to be admitted.
“I believe the event management plan that UPD worked on with the athletics staff was better this year,” Hughes said. “People knew they couldn’t get in without a ticket, so we didn’t have to deal with a large crowd outside the stadium this year.”
The smaller crowd outside Alex G. Spanos Stadium resulted in fewer students trying to jump over fences, a major problem for the police last year. Some students, however, did still attempt to do so this year.
At the same time, Director of Facilities and Event Operations Jesse Latino said ticket-holding students flooded gate security in the final 30 minutes before the game started, creating problems at the entrances.
“That was probably the biggest issue, just getting people in,” Latino said. “We’ll fix that for next year by putting up some fencing for the lines, which I think will help.”
Dean of Students Jean DeCosta sent out an email Friday morning encouraging students to celebrate responsibly at the game and during Halloween weekend.
“I think the additional events that we are having on campus that encourage non-alcohol consumption beforehand … are assisting us with these large type of events afterwards,” Hughes said.
Economics freshman Kaitlyn Marines said she and her friends had a great time at the game while remaining sober.
“I was really excited because it was a sold-out game and they kept advertising it,” she said. “I was pumped up, ready to watch some soccer.”
UPD had 12 police officers at the game, and UC Santa Barbara Police Department sent two of their own to San Luis Obispo to help compensate for the influx of Gauchos fans, though no UC Santa Barbara fans were arrested.
Latino said UPD brought more officers to this year’s game, which created a safer environment than past years.
“Increasing UPD personnel helped out a lot,” Latino said. “The increase in personnel was the biggest reason for improvement. And then just learning — you learn something new every year.”
San Luis Obispo Police Department (SLOPD) also had a van and a driver waiting outside the stadium so UPD officers could get back to work quickly after making arrests.
SLOPD waited for the van to fill up before transporting students to the San Luis Obispo County Jail.
UPD representatives attended Latino’s planning meetings in the weeks leading up to the event. Latino also hired 15 Miller Event Management staffers to monitor aisles and stairwells on the east side of the stadium.
Cal Poly’s alcohol policy continues to evolve — beer has been served at tailgates and the university is considering a pub on campus. Hughes said UPD would continue to collaborate with Cal Poly Athletics.
“We’re going to continue to work with Athletics as we have more and more large events down there at the stadium,” he said. “It’s a little bit of a work in progress, but we’re going to make great strides.”