University of Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez indicated Wednesday that stadium policy will change in the wake of an incident involving fans in costume at the Badgers’ home football game Oct. 29 against Nebraska. One fan wore masks depicting U.S. president Barack Obama and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton while also wearing a striped prison suit and a noose around his neck. A second fan, dressed as presidential candidate Donald Trump, held the end of the rope.
"I am deeply troubled by the incident from last Saturday's game, and I am sorry for the harm it caused," Alvarez said Wednesday in a statement. "I am determined that nothing like this will happen again." It was the third statement released since Sunday by the university, which drew criticism for initially calling the fans’ costumes a form of free speech. During the game, guest services personnel had asked that the individuals remove parts of their costumes that could be deemed offensive, and the compliant fans were allowed to remain in attendance.
Existing UW policy allows patrons to enter Camp Randall Stadium with masks, but fans are not allowed to wear them until inside. It is not clear what specific policy changes the university intends to make before Wisconsin hosts Illinois on Nov. 12.
"I appreciated the opportunity to meet with a number of community leaders and students this afternoon to discuss our stadium policies," Alvarez said Wednesday. "Our plan, before our next home football game, is to have a revised policy in place. Our department is committed to working collaboratively to make our stadium a great and safe place for fans to watch a football game."