UVa Bans Signs at Sporting Events

Dry Erase Sporting Sign
By Erika A., CC license.

UVa’s new no-signs rule at sporting events is getting national attention, in the form of Rick Reilly’s article for ESPN Magazine. It was all started by people holding up signs demanding that coach Al Groh be fired. Confusingly UVa isn’t saying what a “sign” is. Could I wear a “Fire Al Groh” t-shirt? How about a “Keep Al Groh” t-shirt? Or a “Nike” t-shirt? As Reilly asks, if UVa can censor students at the stadium, why not on the Lawn? The tradition of saving signs at sports events goes back decades, and UVa banning them is awfully strange. Reilly proposes bringing blank signs, or signs that read “This Is Not a Sign.” I like it. (Via Scott Jolly)

18 thoughts on “UVa Bans Signs at Sporting Events”

  1. What a stupid idea. I wish they would ban all the dum advertising, and snobs instead.

  2. I`m in favor of chests and tummies, with slogans inscribed, to be bared to the cameras at the appropriate moment. A la Seinfeld. Betcha we see some of that.

  3. According to this RTD article, VT and JMU also do not allow signs at sporting events (VT for a decade now, it says).

    In related news, UVa is prohibiting lawn tailgating parties before this weekend’s game. Lawn residents can have only as many guests as can fit into their (tiny) rooms. Apparently last weekend’s pre-game Lawn activities included a lot of public urination (on the steps of the Rotunda), vomiting, and trash everywhere.

  4. UVa is a publicly funded institution, so I think they are on shaky ground here. It’s one thing for a private business or institution to say what goes on their own private property. But we are talking about what is essentially a type of government property in this case. Meaning that they really can’t ban free speech like that.

    Bottom line is that this is begging for a lawsuit.

  5. If VT doesn’t allow signs, it’s news to me. I’ve gone to probably 25-30 VT home games over the years and seen dozens of creative acronyms on posterboard held up to try to catch the attention of the TV cameras. On the other hand, VT’s athletics director managed last year to stop the band from ever playing “Stick It In” again. It will be interesting to see if UVA’s sign ban gets enforced after the first few home games.

  6. Naked chests and tummies? It depends. Not like some of those shirtless fat and hairy NFL guys you see mugging for the camera in Lambo when it’s 10 degrees. That’s rough! But banning non-profane signs? That’s absurd! If something is too offensive or inappropriate they can have an usher issue a warning to cease and desist.

  7. Squelching messages that might ruffle some feathers? This ridiculousness brings to mind the untimely and involuntary demise of the Pep Band. I hope the students will join forces and nip this one in the bud.

  8. I`m in favor of chests and tummies, with slogans inscribed, to be bared to the cameras at the appropriate moment. A la Seinfeld. Betcha we see some of that.

    Indeed – and it will be perfectly punctuated, and if we’re lucky also in iambic pentameter.

  9. I have been informed that there will be a protest today
    “All: As many of you have heard, the Athletic Department recently instituted a sign prohibition for all athletic events. This announcement has recently garnered national attention portraying U.Va. in a very negative light. Many are outraged.
    We ask that you be a part of the solution:
    If you would like to take civic action as a student by demonstrating your disapproval in regards to the Athletic Department’s new sign policy, please stop by the following locations prior to Saturday’s game against Richmond. Distribution and instruction will occur in the following areas…
    Old dorms: Bonnycastle, Echols and Dabney
    New dorms: Cauthen, Woody, and Tuttle
    27 West lawn 41 West lawn 49 West lawn 51 West lawn 30 East law 32 East lawn 34 East lawn 40 East lawn”

  10. Don’t the “Power Of Orange” towels that people were holding up at the USC game with writing on them constitute a sign?…JC

  11. Maybe students, and other fans who also believe in the First Amendment, should send the UVa Athletic Dept. a message by boycotting all sporting events until the policy is rescinded!

  12. Maybe they should (boycott), but they won’t. So that’s that.

    I think banning signs is stupid, but I have less of an issue with banning Lawn tailgates. If people are going to trash the Lawn (pee on it and the buildings, leave trash and crap everywhere), then too bad.

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