‘The tailgate was like a cemetery’
Carl J. Bachus | Collegio Reporter
The Pitt State administration’s recent changes to the tailgate drinking policies went into full effect during the game on Saturday, Sept. 22. The new policy regarding alcohol consumption, brought about by an altercation in the parking lot during the Gorillas’ first home game on Sept. 8, requires tailgaters to cease all consumption of alcoholic beverages after the start of the game.
“The atmosphere was a little more relaxed,” said Jarred Estrada, junior in justice studies. “You didn’t see too many people out there as early as they were at the previous tailgates. There was a noticeable police presence, but I don’t get uncomfortable around police, so it didn’t bother me.”
Estrada says he feels the new tailgate policy will likely deplete the parking lot attendance, football fan attendance will probably remain unaffected, citing Saturday’s sold-out game. Mike McCracken, director of university police and parking services, agrees.
“I don’t see the new polices having any negative effect on game attendance,” McCracken said. “In fact, it could have a positive one. There are those who may have decided not to attend the games because of the way the atmosphere was perceived before. The more family friendly environment may encourage more people to attend.”
Several tailgaters left the stadium parking lot early, which McCracken attributed more to the Gorillas’ blowout score than the new policy.
Students like Tyler Hilton say that the policy enforcement didn’t make tailgating uncomfortable, but there was no reason to stay after kickoff.
“People just aren’t going to tailgate as long,” said Hilton, junior in biology. “I didn’t stay the whole time for the game. Most people just come to tailgate anyway. We support Pitt State but everybody’s there to party in the parking lot.”
Pedro Lopes, MBA student, says he had a very different experience at Saturday’s tailgate.
“There weren’t nearly as many people as the last game,” Lopes said. “It was probably 25 percent of the people, and it was Family Weekend. It was supposed to have double the number of people tailgating.”
Lopes says that after the game started, there was practically nobody in the parking lot.
“After the kickoff, the tailgate looked like a cemetery,” Lopes said.
Hilton says that imposing a complete ban on alcohol consumption after kickoff is a premature move on the part of the campus administration.
“I think that they should just make a harsher punishment for people who get out of control,” Hilton said. “But everything else should be left the same.”
McCracken says the policy change may be unpopular, but there are no plans to make any changes in the foreseeable future.
“It’s going to be a matter of consistency on behalf of the police,” McCracken said. “At the end of the season, we’ll probably discuss what worked and what didn’t and then see if there’s a need for changes next year.”