Going to the game? Here's what you need to know

As part of a steel-workers' tradition, the final beam was erected Aug. 30 in a "Topping Off" ceremony, attended by media.
As part of a steel-workers' tradition, the final beam was erected Aug. 30 in a "Topping Off" ceremony, attended by media.

The continuing East Stadium expansion project at Memorial Stadium will be the major change Nebraska football fans will notice when the Cornhuskers open the 2012 season Sept. 1 vs. Southern Mississippi.

The final beam was erected on Aug. 30 in a traditional "Topping Off" ceremony, where Chancellor Harvey Perlman, Athletic Director Tom Osborne, Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development Prem Paul, and construction owner John Sampson signed the final beam and workers hoisted it into its location atop the new East Stadium.

Entrance to East Stadium seating will be the same as in 2011, however. A set of steps has been built on the northeast corner at Gate 16. Construction will continue during the season so some areas will be off limits to fans, but a large opening has been created in the middle portion of the East Stadium for fans to enter and then proceed to their gates. The pathway to gates 23 and 24 has been reduced, so fans who enter other gates are encouraged to avoid that area. Signage has been erected to help fans find the best way to their gate and seats.

Again in 2012, outside chairback seats will not be allowed in Memorial Stadium. Some 20,000 chairback seats will be available for rental at $5 each.

Tickets at all gates will be scanned with an optical reader for entrance and for re-entry if someone leaves the stadium. No re-entry is allowed beginning at the start of the fourth quarter.

Fans will again have the ability to report safety concerns to UNL Police via SMS (Short Message Service) text-messaging. Anyone with a cellular phone and SMS capabilities can initiate a text message to 69050, keyword, "UNLPD," and type in their complaint and location. Standard SMS rates will apply. The text number is the same as the one used in 2011.

Other stadium policies remain unchanged from previous years.

Reserved parking lots around the stadium will open six hours prior to kickoff. Most donor lots now have reserved stalls.

UNL students will be seated in Sections 9 through 14 in the southeast corner of Memorial Stadium, and all student seating is general admission. Students with tickets for East Stadium seating (Sections 9, 10 and 11) must pick up a required wristband at the tent east of Gate 23 beginning four hours prior to kickoff each game; when stadium gates open, they may enter Memorial Stadium through Gate 22 or 23. Wristbands are not required for students with tickets for South Stadium seating (Sections 12, 13 and 14, entering through Gate 24). UNL student tickets are being sent to the students’ valid NCard which will be scanned at the gate for admission. They must be scanned in and out just like a regular ticket. All transfers of student tickets will be done electronically via http://www.huskers.com. If the transfer is made to a non-UNL student, the validation fee will be charged and a print-at-home ticket is issued. If transferred to another full-time student, then the ticket will be sent to the recipient’s NCard. Validated student tickets for East Stadium seating require a wristband.

Fans are asked to help the "Big Red Go Green" in a stepped-up recycling program this fall by depositing their plastic bottles and cups in marked recycling bins located near every trash receptacle.

Memorial Stadium gates will open 1 hour and 30 minutes before kickoff of each game and ticket holders are encouraged to enter the gate number printed on their ticket. Express lanes will be in effect at stadium gates again and fans are encouraged to "travel light." Ticket-holders who are not carrying items that are subject to inspection (purses, fanny packs, camera bags and water bottles) can use the express lanes. Fans carrying such items must use the other lanes. Backpacks are not permitted in Memorial Stadium.

The Husker Nation Pavilion will be back for its ninth year with a slightly different location, with most activities taking place on the Gass practice field, where the Huskers practice daily northeast of Memorial Stadium. It will be open 3 hours prior to kickoff and will provide free and fun activities for the whole family, games, music, the Husker Sports Network pre-game show, autograph signings and appearances by current and former athletes across many sports.

Stadium Drive on the west side of the stadium will also have food vendors and some game-related activities.

Memorial Stadium policies:

- Stadium gates open 90 minutes prior to kickoff.
- Outside chairbacks are not allowed in Memorial Stadium.
- Backpacks are not allowed in Memorial Stadium.
- The Athletic Ticket Office and Huskers Authentic open 4 hours prior to kickoff.
- Memorial Stadium, like all university buildings, is a non-smoking area. Those who want to smoke must leave the stadium to do so. Tickets will be scanned for exiting and re-entry. Re-entry is available at each gate. Persons re-entering the stadium are subject to rescreening. No re-entry beginning at the start of the fourth quarter.
- The following items are prohibited in Memorial Stadium: Guns, knives, backpacks, glass, cans, coolers, beverage containers, video cameras, umbrellas and pets. People will be asked to return such items to their vehicles or home. Purses, fanny packs, and small camera bags are allowed but are subject to search. Plastic water bottles are permitted but may be inspected.
- Alcoholic beverages of any type are not allowed in the stadium. In addition, consumption of alcohol is prohibited in city and university parking lots and property.
- Throwing of any object in the stadium is prohibited. Any person throwing any object is subject to immediate removal from the stadium. Rules allow game officials to penalize the home team if objects are thrown onto the playing field.
- The Stadium Assistance Team, wearing orange jackets bearing the word "Security," can help with any problems fans may encounter. If fans become separated from their friends, they should report to any First Aid station for assistance.
- Lost and found areas are located at the south end of the east and west concourses.

Parking and traffic policies and procedures:

- Most parking lots on the UNL City Campus are reserved for those who have paid reservations on game days. Paid public parking on City Campus is available at $15 per stall at the Parking Garage at 17th and R streets.
- Parking for people with disabilities is available for $15 per vehicle on a first-come, first-served basis in Booster Lots 5 and 9 on the south side of Salt Creek Roadway between Stadium Drive and 14th Street northeast of Memorial Stadium. Lots 5 and 9 have free cart shuttle service to the stadium. This shuttle is radio equipped and will be stationed during the game at the northeast corner of the stadium and on the east side for those patrons needing to return to their vehicles. Contact the Athletics Ticket Office at 402-472-3111 for pre-purchase opportunities. Charter and shuttle bus parking is available on W Street between 14th and 16th streets.
- Stadium Drive, the street on the west side of the stadium, will be closed on game days.
- Star Tran will offer the Big Red Express shuttle service to and from the stadium from sites around Lincoln. The shuttle service will run from Southeast Community College, 88th and O streets; Holmes Park, 70th Street and Normal Boulevard; Gateway Mall, 61st and O streets (buses load north of JC Penney); North Star High School, 5801 N. 33rd St.; SouthPointe Pavilions, 27th Street and Pine Lake Road (buses load on the south side of Von Maur); and a new location at Northwest 12th and West Bond streets (off Interstate 80 Exit 399). Turn right just north of McDonald's. Electronic signs will help direct fans to the Big Red Express locations.
- Because of East Stadium construction, buses will drop off and pick up from a new location on R Street between 12th and 14th streets. The cost is $4 each way for adults and $1 each for children age 12 and under. Exact change is required. Big Red Express season tickets, good for round-trip travel for all home games, are available for $40 at the StarTran office, 710 J St., the SouthPointe Pavilions office, or at the pick-up lots on game day. For more information, call 402-476-1234 or visit startran.lincoln.ne.gov.
- The taxi cab drop off/pick up location will be at the corner of 14th and Vine streets east of the stadium. Other passenger drop-off and pick-up will not be allowed in front of the stadium before or after games. The recommended drop-off location is 12th and R streets.

Up-to-date statewide road information can be found online at http://www.nebraskatransportation.org. Highway conditions and a brief weather report can be obtained by calling 511 on a land line or cell phone.