Nearly 1,000 students are expected to attend the new student-run tailgate Saturday before the Horned Frogs take on the University of California at Davis in their first home football game of the season, said the president of the Student Government Association. The student tailgate has been revamped since the 2005 season because students wanted something different than last year’s tailgate, which took place on the practice field, said Trevor Heaney, president of SGA.
Heaney said that he and representatives from various other student organizations formed a committee to propose new ideas for the student tailgate, because when students had complained about the tailgate in the past, it had not been changed.
This year, beginning four hours before kickoff, students can set up grills and tents in the new parking lot between Brachman Hall and Bellaire Drive North, said Yvonne Giovanis, assistant director of the Alcohol and Drug Education Center. The tailgate will officially begin two hours before kickoff and end two hours after the game ends, she said. Anyone is welcome to tailgate during these hours, but said students will be strongly encouraged to go into the game before kickoff, she said.
All TCU students and their guests are welcome, Giovanis said.
“It’s about students, for students and is student-designed, and hopefully, students will be more responsive,” she said.
The students on the committee made all the necessary preparations for the tailgate, Heaney said.
“We went out and got the TCU faculty and staff that was needed to help us,” Heaney said. “Then we went out and hired the necessary law enforcement to make sure everything is run properly.”
Don Mills, vice chancellor for student affairs, said last year’s student tailgates on the practice field didn’t work because of the location and a lack of student involvement.
“The tailgates really didn’t have the support from many student organizations — especially Greeks,” Mills said. “I hope this year Greeks will support them.”
Drew Mayer, a sophomore criminal justice major, said he agrees that something more is needed this year. Mayer said TCU tailgates seem disorganized compared to tailgates he has attended at other schools such as the University of Texas at Austin, Texas Tech University and Texas A&M University. He said the pre-game ritual at TCU is also burdened by a crackdown on alcohol consumption by authorities, but said he thinks there is hope for the new tailgate this fall.
“It’s good that they’ve put that new parking lot in because there hasn’t been a lot of room for tailgating,” Mayer said.
Students will be allowed to bring their own alcohol to the tailgate as long as they are older than 21 and receive a wristband when they come through one of the two entrances, Giovanis said. She said event staff and police officers will be checking IDs and handing out wristbands, but said students need to be responsible for themselves and how much they choose to drink.
Heaney said he agrees, adding that he hopes the authorities hired to enforce the rules set by the tailgating committee will be sufficient.
“We are definitely not inviting the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission,” Heaney said. “That is why we hired event staff and why we hired the Fort Worth Police Department, so that they can take care of any situations or any problems.”
Because of the more lenient rules this year, Mills said there is potential for problems.
“Behavioral issues could occur and parts of (the tailgate) might be hard to manage because of alcohol,” Mills said.
To try to alleviate problems, however, the tailgate committee wrote out a policy specifically regarding alcohol, Heaney said. While the alcohol amount will not be limited for each person, things such as kegs, troughs and beer bongs will not be permitted. Coolers with food and beer will be allowed, but until further notice, liquor will not be permitted, he said.
“We’re trying to keep our tailgates in line with the rest of the TCU tailgates that will be going on during the season,” Heaney said.
Giovanis, who is also the adviser for Hyperfrogs, said the organization will be at every student tailgate this fall and will offer things such as food and face painting.
Hyperfrogs, which had a representative on the tailgating committee, is a student organization where students show spirit and support for athletic events without the influence of alcohol or drugs, Giovanis said.
In addition to Hyperfrogs’ involvement, Programming Council will be providing entertainment including live bands at every tailgate. The Interfraternity Council and Panhellenic are also working on setting up a big-screen TV to show other game broadcasts at the tailgate, Heaney said.
Mills said he expects the tailgate to succeed because of the student support.
“It’s going to be a pretty terrific student party,” Mills said.