University of Connecticut athletic director David Benedict released new tailgating policies in an email to the student body last month, despite already-low football game turnouts.
The policies include a ban on hard liquor, kegs and bulk quantities of alcohol, glass bottles and pets, according to the email. New restrictions have also been imposed on parking and bus registrations.
“Law enforcement will have a greater presence than in past years to ensure that the tailgating policies are followed and that unacceptable behavior is wiped out,” Benedict wrote. “The student lot was created three years ago with the hope that providing an exclusive lot for students would create more enthusiasm and camaraderie among the student body, and I still think that can be realized.”
The move comes after UConn’s decision to make admission to all sporting events free on a first-come, first-serve basis. The football games in particular have reached the lowest attendance numbers since the opening of Rentschler Field, bringing in only about 10,000 fans per game, according to an article in The Daily Campus.
Despite the changes, some students, like fifth-semester real estate and urban economics major Colvert Moore, have expressed that the new policies are not overtly strict and are necessary to keep peace and order at tailgates.
“Tailgates have every right to be closely monitored,” Moore said. “There can be a balance between fun and safety.”
Other students, like fifth-semester environmental engineering major Joseph Forleo, said he did not notice a major change in the policing of the tailgate despite the new guidelines.
“I did not see more of a presence of cops,” Forleo said. “I did see more people standing on trucks still, on elevated surfaces, so I do not think they were actually cracking down on that. Maybe it was just where I was.”
Forleo said he thinks the rules will likely turn away students who come to the games solely to tailgate, but will bring in more students who are more serious about staying for the football game.
“I think making the rules more strict probably scared off some people, especially incoming freshmen who wanted to go to the tailgate,” Forleo said. “But I guess if you were going just for the game, you would still go anyway.”
Benedict warned that tailgating privileges would be compromised for UConn students, should they not follow the new rules.
“If the student culture cannot adhere to the appropriate guidelines, the student tailgating privileges will be eliminated,” Benedict said. “We want every fan to feel safe and secure as they enjoy the game and root for the Huskies.”
Taylor Harton is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.