Students will not be tailgating as usual this football season.
The official student tailgate, or Frog Frenzy, will move to the Commons – the open, grassy area between the dormitories and the Brown-Lupton University Union, TCU officials said. Alcohol consumption, even for those of age, will not be allowed because alcohol consumption is prohibited by university policy on campus grounds.
However, TCU officials said they hope the relocation will have a positive outcome.
Assistant vice chancellor for student affairs Darron Turner said a marked decrease in attendance at the tailgates in Worth Hills at the end of the 2007 season prompted many student organizations – including Interfraternity Council, National Panhellenic Council, Student Government Association and Hyperfrogs – to devise a new plan for pregame festivities.
Turner said the committee decided low attendance rates were partly because of the presence of Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission representatives at the tailgates and the resulting alcohol violations that were handed out. According to a 2007 Skiff article, TABC records show that TCU tailgates were the second-most cited place in Tarrant County by the TABC that year. Turner said this was one of the factors in the decision to move the student tailgate.
“A lot of students may have not attended because they didn’t want to deal with all of this,” Turner said of past tailgates.
Turner said other tailgates, such as alumni tailgates, will remain in the parking lots.
Yvonne Giovanis, assistant director of the Alcohol and Education Center, said the committee wanted to find a location where all students and groups would feel welcome. She said empty parking lots, a commodity on game day, were not a viable option, and so the group chose the Commons as the new tailgate site. No alcohol will be allowed because 75 percent of the total TCU population and 90 percent of the students living in that particular area of campus are under 21, Giovanis said.
Clayton Simons, president of the IFC, said tailgates are not only for Greeks but the whole TCU community.
“We wanted it moved to a more centralized location so that all students would feel more included,” Simons said.
Simons said alcohol will still be allowed at other tailgate locations.
Turner said he is aware this new plan might not please everyone but remains optimistic that the new policy won’t hurt attendance.
Students are exclusively allowed to tailgate at the Commons, Turner said. He said tailgating in unauthorized areas hasn’t been a problem before, and if there are violations to the new policy, the university will handle cases as they arise.
Giovanis said she hopes students who go elsewhere to drink do so responsibly.
“We are concerned about students’ safety, but we cannot police personal, individual behavior,” Giovanis said.
Junior business marketing major Greg Franklin was opposed to banning alcohol at the tailgate.
“I think the intent is good, but when you think about tailgating, you relate drinking with it,” he said. “It’s going to take away from the gameday vibe.”
Junior entrepreneurial management major William Jacobs shared similar sentiments.
“I think students are going to be less likely to go to the games, but it might work out,” Jacobs said. “Most students are going to be expecting a tailgate, and then are going to be disappointed.”
Turner said the committee will assess and tweak, if need be, with each tailgate, but the location will not change this year.