Wisconsin to change stadium policies after Obama costume incident

ByJesse Temple ESPN logo
Thursday, November 3, 2016

MADISON, Wis. -- Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez said the school will change its stadium policies in the wake of an incident last Saturday involving a fan wearing a Barack Obama mask with a noose around his neck.

"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."

The school intends to have a revised policy in place when it plays its next game at Camp Randall Stadium -- Nov. 12 against Illinois.

The university asked the fan to remove the offensive parts of his costume at the game. The school later issued a statement that said the costume, "while repugnant and counter to the values of the university and athletic department, was an exercise of the individual's right to free speech."

The fan complied when guest services staff asked to remove the offensive parts of the costume, according to the school statement.

University policy doesn't allow fans to wear masks while entering the stadium, but they have been allowed to wear them once inside.

Wisconsin's game against Nebraska last Saturday coincided with the school's annual Freakfest event, a Halloween celebration that takes place downtown. Many fans in attendance wore costumes.

"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."