Students trying to storm the field after Arizona Wildcats football victories will have to work a bit harder starting this fall.
A new 5-foot concrete wall will be designed to contain the ZonaZoo student section and the Pride of Arizona marching band at Arizona Stadium next season.
The previous chain-link fence, which stood 3 1/2 feet above the concourse, was "a safety issue," said UA associate athletic director Steve Kozachik. The concrete posts that held the fence were crumbling, he said.
Students made news last November when Arizona led Oregon in the final minutes of a nationally televised game when hundreds of students stormed the field, anticipating a postgame party. The Ducks tied the game with 6 seconds left in regulation, however, and won in double overtime, while students from the ZonaZoo and others waited on the sidelines.
Coaches "definitely don't want" students to storm the field for safety reasons, said Erick Harper, the UA's director of football operations. "Everybody who's on the field - whether it's a player, coach or administrator - is trained to pay attention to traffic. If you get someone down there that's not trained, they can get rolled up on and get hurt."
The ZonaZoo doesn't want a repeat of last year's Oregon game, executive director Giuliano Lepe said. "We're trying to ensure we get the best atmosphere and the best games possible, but we don't want any destruction of property to happen," he said. "As long as we can ensure the safety of the students, I'm totally for this wall."
The novelty of field-rushing will wear off as Arizona wins more games, Harper said. The Wildcats are coming off back-to-back 8-5 bowl seasons, and are again expected to be competitive in the Pac-10.