With student tickets to this year’s Game as scarce as Harvard parties on a Saturday night, it seems that Harvard Stadium will be a packed house during the 125th playing of the historic matchup. But outside the grandstands, at the pre-game tailgate, the party may be tamer than it has been in years past.
New regulations, pushed by the Boston Police Department and announced in October, include a ban on U-Haul trucks, kegs and other devices that “promote the rapid consumption of alcohol,” as the rules put it. The tailgate will also be shut down at the start of the game, which is earlier than recent years, when the festivities ended at halftime.
In Cambridge, therefore, Harvard’s House Committees are trying to find new ways to make tailgating worthwhile.
“From my perspective the house committees have been dealing with it really well,” said Harvard student life fellow Jason McCoy, the school’s so-called “fun czar.” “A lot of them are throwing really creative tailgates that should be really fun. I’ve heard rumors of themed tailgates.”
But there are signs the tailgate could be worse this year, due to the regulations. The Harvard Crimson reported Wednesday that turnout is expected to fall compared to 2006, and the shorter tailgate could spur more students to rapidly consume alcohol before going to the tailgate, where alcohol will only be available to students 21 and over. Chris Lewis, a member of the Lowell House Committee, acknowledged that concern and said his group is hoping advance planning — and a house-sponsored champagne and mimosa event Saturday morning — can keep binge drinking to a minimum before the Game.
“I think we’re dealing,” Lewis said. “There’s nothing we can do to prevent students from chugging down bottles of vodka in the morning if they choose to.”
Yale first required that the tailgates shut down at halftime in 2005; previously, tailgates had continued throughout the game. This will be the first Harvard-Yale game where tailgates are shut down at kickoff, almost two hours earlier than ever before.
The new rules are more lenient on some counts. Unlike the 2006 Game, Harvard will allow house committees and Yale’s residential college committees to serve beer and wine to students 21 and older. House committees and residential colleges can only serve alcoholic beverages to students with bracelets, which students of age can acquire the morning of the tailgate. The alcohol service area has also expanded. In 2006, Harvard allowed alcohol only in designated roped-off areas; this year it will be permitted throughout the entire tailgate area.
On some issues, the rules have not changed at all from 2006: Individual students are still prohibited from bringing their own alcohol into the tailgate area.
When they learned of the regulations in October, many of Yale’s college committees reacted by shifting resources to the Princeton-Yale game tailgate. But due to rain on the day of the game, turnout for these tailgates was poor.
The new rules have limited the committees’ ability to throw an effective tailgate, several SAC chairs told the News this week. The bans on U-Hauls, charcoal grills and outside catering presents challenges to SAC chairs attempting to move and prepare large quantities of food, they said.
As of Thursday afternoon, both Harvard and Yale had sold out of student section tickets for The Game, although students with a Yale or Harvard ID will be allowed into the tailgate regardless. Associated Student Agencies bus tickets to Cambridge are also sold out.