EAST LANSING (AP) — Michigan State University will put new
restrictions on tailgating for the rest of this football season in
an attempt to curb binge drinking, school officials said
yesterday.

Campus parking lots won’t open until five hours before
game time. Lots will close two hours after each game.

Game boards and other paraphernalia related to drinking games
will be banned from tailgate parties.

The new regulations come in response to increased drinking
before and after Spartan football games, university officials said.
If these restrictions don’t work, stricter measures,
including a ban on hard liquor, could be considered for next
season.

“The people who should be the angriest are those who
tailgate appropriately,” Michigan State spokesman Terry
Denbow said. “We are trying to keep a healthy, family
atmosphere.”

The new restrictions go in effect for Saturday’s home game
against Illinois. Kickoff is scheduled for noon, which means campus
lots will open at 7 a.m. Later kickoffs would mean later parking
lot openings.

Previously, there were no strict guidelines for when university
parking lots would open or close for football games. But an
increase in excessive drinking, public urination and other
inappropriate behavior forced the changes, Denbow said. Police are
also investigating a reported rape near a tailgate spot before the
Sept. 18 game with Notre Dame.

Michigan State campus police report 127 alcohol-related
incidents through two games this season. That compares to 432
incidents in seven games last season, and 291 incidents in eight
games in 2002.

“This is a ticking timebomb for many students,”
Denbow said of the increase in binge drinking at tailgate parties.
“It is not just a (public relations) hazard. It is a health
hazard.”

The new restrictions were announced after a meeting involving
representatives from the university, city of East Lansing, student
groups and alumni groups.

Students were worried stricter measures could be put in place.
“It’s not a horrible compromise,” Michigan State
freshman Stacey Richardson said. “It still allows people to
celebrate, but not let people get out of control.”

Michigan State has tried to curb drinking at tailgate parties in
the past.  A 1998 ban on alcohol at Munn Field, a popular
tailgating spot, sparked a student riot.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.