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UT to charge $2 for Bucs parking

The fee is for one lot during training camp. It will fund cleanup costs.

By RICK STROUD

© St. Petersburg Times, published July 21, 2000


TAMPA -- It's free to ride on the Bucs bandwagon, but plan on spending $2 to park your wagon at training camp.

For the first time since the team began holding preseason workouts at the University of Tampa in 1988, a fee will be charged for parking across from Pepin/Rood Stadium when the Bucs begin training camp Monday.

The university is assessing a $2 fee per vehicle, per workout session. All proceeds will to the Spartans athletic fund. The fee is only for the 300 spaces in the Martinez Sports Center lot across North Boulevard from Pepin/Rood Stadium.

At the camps of five other NFL teams -- the Redskins, Bills, Colts, Giants and 49ers -- fans must pay either for parking or admission to watch a routine practice.

The Bucs said they are unhappy with UT's decision.

"First and foremost, this is not a decision of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers," communications director Reggie Roberts said. "Despite our strong objections, the University of Tampa decided to execute this new policy of charging fans to park during our training camp workouts. We're not happy with the decision."

UT athletic director Larry Marfise said the fee is needed to pay for cleaning up the parking lot and stadium. Last year the athletic department had to pay students to pick up what Marfise said was "a tremendous amount of trash." Marfise said that charging for parking will help regulate parking.

"Last year we had nobody out there managing that lot," he said. "People parked everywhere -- on the sidewalk, on the grass, across spots. They blocked the entrance to the lot and also blocked the entrance to the center, and our employees couldn't get in."

Because 30 UT employees work at the center, Marfise said, the lot will be closed after 270 cars arrive to ensure they have spaces.

Marfise said free spaces are available on and near the campus. "This is strictly to cover our costs instead of being out-of-pocket that money," he said. "We're not looking to make any money, and we don't anticipate there will be much of a profit."

Marfise said the decision was not influenced by Redskins owner Daniel Snyder, who this year is charging fans over 12 a $10 admission fee to watch training camp workouts and $10 per vehicle to park. About 2,800 paid to watch the Redskins' first training camp workout Thursday.

"We weren't even aware they were doing that," Marfise said.

-- Staff writer Ernest Hooper contributed to this report.

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