With the UConn Blue-White Spring Football Game set to kick off Saturday at Rentschler Field, stadium officials conferred with security personnel to outline a plan Monday.
But by the end of the day, the plan was set to change. Explosions near the finish line of the Boston Marathon forced Rentschler administrators to re-examine the security approach for the game.
Jack Freeman, director of stadium operations at Rentschler Field, said he will meet with law enforcement officials Thursday. Freeman said he will reconvene with representatives from UConn, the Connecticut State Police and the facility's security company (USA Security Services) in an effort to boost security measures.
"We're going to discuss procedures," Freeman said. "We're going to ratchet it up as far as inspections and security. We'll take all the precautions necessary."
Rentschler's response is immediate, given the timeliness of its next event. But sports venues and events throughout the state are likely to alter security as a result of what happened in Boston.
Unlike an event staged at a stadium, events such as a marathon or golf tournament present different challenges since they are spread out and have so many access points.
"The Boston Marathon organization is the tops in the industry for emergency planning and contingency planning," ING Hartford Marathon race director Beth Shluger said. "They have the support of every agency in Massachusetts. The support they have can't be measured. ... You can't underestimate the value of relationships when you plan mass gatherings like this. It is not just the marathon committee and the race director planning. You're planning with experts in the field. You're working with the police, fire and emergency medical groups."
The Hartford Marathon is scheduled for Oct. 12.
"We will continue planning," Shluger said. "We will sit up a little straighter and sharpen our pencil and know we have a big task in front of us."
So does the Travelers Championship, Connecticut's annual PGA event, which is scheduled for June 20-23.
"I can guarantee we will have more meetings on security and will do everything we can to insure we have that," said Nathan Grube, tournament director of the Cromwell-based golf event.
At New Britain Stadium, the operators of the Eastern League's Rock Cats take security seriously. President and general manager John Willi said security has been heightened since the September 11, 2001, attacks and the issue is of importance across the industry.
The events in Boston will only sharpen that focus.
"Obviously this sort of event makes you think about it and re-examine it," said Willi, whose team is home against New Hampshire this week. "We check bags, we have security at the gate, EMTs on site. ... And if, God forbid, we had an incident, we have a plan for evacuation of the stadium. I think we have the right measures in place, but you still have got to stay on your toes and be conscious of it."
Grube said that two years ago the Travelers Championship received a "very good report" from Homeland Security, which had met with each PGA Tour event about its security.
"There were representatives from Homeland Security, the Cromwell Police Department and our own private security," Grube said. "We felt very good about what they said about our security plan."
Every Monday, Grube and Andy Bessette, Travelers' executive vice president and chief administrative officer, participate in a meeting at Travelers Tower, discussing such items as the players' field, tournament setup and ticket sales. They were together after the explosions in Boston.
Grube has run the Boston Marathon and had two friends running this year, so there is a personal connection to the event.
"The mood had always been so joyous about the Boston Marathon until this," Grube said. "You just can't believe this."
The Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands always attracts good crowds. About 280,000 fans attended the Travelers Championship last year. The crowd was 240,000 in 2011.
"We take the security of our players, families, fans, volunteers; everyone very, very seriously," Grube said. "In my meeting with Andy we went over our plans for various scenarios."
Those plans included the evacuation of fans from the course because of such occurrences as thunderstorms, fires and, yes, bombs.
Willi said Minor League Baseball, the governing body based in Florida, has an active security division.
"I assume they're going to be contacting us with some kind of memo or communication relating to this," he said, adding that the team is in frequent contact with the group on security and other issues.
Shluger said the day's events "have shaken me to my core. [A marathon] is sheer joy. It is such a celebration of joy. It is the most inspiring place in the world and somehow that was destroyed today."Copyright © 2015, CT Now