With less than three weeks until The Game, a number of Yale alumni have complained about the new tailgating regulations announced last month by the Yale College Dean’s Office.
Many alumni said they are particularly upset by the new policy of cutting off tailgates at halftime, which they said will interfere with the longstanding social tradition of The Game and limit their time to catch up with former classmates. Administrators in both the Athletics Department and the Yale College Dean’s Office said they have received numerous complaints from alumni who are unhappy with the new rules, which mark the first sweeping University-instituted limitations on tailgating at home games in the history of Yale football.
Recent coverage of The Game in several regional and national media outlets has contributed to a misunderstanding of the new regulations and prompted a number of alumni inquiries, Yale Director of Sports Publicity Steve Conn said.
“Stations were running things that said that Yale is cutting down on tailgating, which couldn’t be further from the truth,” Conn said.
In addition to the new time limit on tailgating activities, the eight regulations include a ban on drinking games and standing on top of trucks and other vehicles.
Allan Carscaddon ’91 said he favors keeping inebriated fans off of vehicles and indifferent toward the drinking game restriction, but is opposed to shutting down the tailgates before the second half of the game.
“Sometimes the game isn’t very good … you want to leave the game during the third or fourth quarter and go outside and have some hot chocolate and schnapps,” Carscaddon said.
The social aspects of The Game are just as important as the athletic event itself, and the University should be careful about tampering with such a long-standing tradition, Richard Bradley ’86 said.
“When I was a student you really didn’t go to the games to watch the football because the football, to be honest, wasn’t very good,” he said. “Getting drunk, going to the game and cheering for Yale is part of the fabric of Yale life. It seems sort of puritanical to crack down on that.”
Other alumni said ending the tailgate early will curb the time they get to spend visiting with former classmates. Irving Drabkin ’41 said he understands the University’s anxiety about binge drinking among students, but he thinks ending the tailgates early will penalize alumni who wish to watch the game and socialize afterward.
“I don’t think that is a constructive way of handling the problem, mainly because at the end of the game it’s nice to be able to socialize a little bit and renew old friendships,” he said. “To clamp down on everybody, I think, is going over the top.”
Drabkin said he thinks Yale should consider heavier policing of problem areas instead of tailgate limits for all fans.
A more recent alumna, Elizabeth Adams ’04 said the tailgating restriction may make it harder to find classmates and friends from their residential colleges at the game.
“In the stands you can get stuck in one part and never see anyone you know, but in the tailgate you can find people you know,” Adams said.
Adams said the limitation might also cause more alcohol-related problems by making fans feel like they have to drink faster because of the deadline.
But George Heston ’41 said he does not mind the new regulations because the main draw for him is the game itself.
“They may be cutting out a lot of fun for some people, [but] folks I know come to go to the game,” he said. “We don’t want to miss the kickoff.”