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Meet the Sooners Day changes, focuses on the kids

by Michael Baldwin Published: July 14, 2011
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NORMAN — Meet the Sooners Day will undergo three major changes.

The University of Oklahoma's annual event this year will be scheduled on a Saturday (Aug. 6) instead of a weekday.

The autograph session will be held on the football practice fields near Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. In recent years it's been held on the rugby fields.

The most significant change is only children ages 14 and younger will be allowed to get autographs. Each child can be accompanied by one adult with one item to be autographed.

“We've discussed this event at length and examined it from every angle,” said Kenny Mossman, OU director of communications. “The bottom line is our fan support is so great, we realistically cannot accommodate everyone when this event is held on a Saturday.”

Meet the Sooners Day is scheduled on a Saturday for two reasons:

*Due to a rare calendar quirk, several players will still be in summer classes. If it were held on a weekday, some players would be unable to attend.

*Aug. 6 best fits the coaches' two-a-day practice schedule.

An estimated 8,500 fans attended last year on a Friday. The previous year, an estimated 14,000 attended on a weekday.

OU officials estimate an additional 2,500 to 5,000 fans would attend on a Saturday.

“If we allowed everyone, a lot of fans would still be disappointed because of the length of the lines,” Mossman said. “Certainly, we would like to include fans not in that age bracket, but this event is aimed at children.”

Most emails and comments on NewsOK.com agree with the decision to restrict it to kids.

“After witnessing the carnage of kids getting run over to get (Sam) Bradford's autograph two years ago, I completely agree with the new policy,” said Mark Doescher. “However, maybe they could have a Season Ticket Holder Meet Day to pacify those who have attended for years and have no children.”

Kevin Daniel of Maumelle, Ark., is disappointed. Daniel would like to see the annual autograph session extended to three hours. Daniel suggests the first hour could be dedicated to kids, the final two hours to adults.

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by Michael Baldwin
Redhawks, Barons, MLB, NFL Reporter
Mike Baldwin has been a sports reporter for The Oklahoman since 1982. Mike graduated from Okmulgee High School in 1974 and attended Oklahoma Christian University, graduating with a journalism degree in 1978. Mike's first job was sports editor...
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