After weeks of discussion and speculation, new tailgating rules were enforced without any major challenges from students at The Game this year, Yale officials said.
University officials said they considered the outcome of the new regulations a success, while many students said the rules were not strictly enforced and did not have a significant impact on tailgating activities. Some students said transportation problems were the most significant inconvenience at the event.
No arrests were made by the Yale or New Haven police departments, which worked together to patrol the tailgating areas, Patten said.
“The Harvard kids were great. The Yale kids were great,” Patten said. “We had no problem.”
Dean of Student Affairs Betty Trachtenberg said University officials anticipated minor problems but were satisfied with the outcome of the regulations, which were announced in October. The rules specify that all tailgating activities must be shut down by the end of halftime and fans may not play drinking games or stand on top of vehicles such as trucks or U-Hauls.
“There were some glitches, as we expected there would be,” Trachtenberg said. “From our point of view things went … as well or better than we expected.”
Patten said about 30 people were sent to University Health Services or local hospitals for excessive alcohol consumption, but he said that number is low relative to the size of the crowd at The Game.
“Considering the fact that there were 55,000 people there, 30 isn’t a big number,” he said.
At last year’s Game at Harvard, at least 25 students were taken to area hospitals for alcohol-related incidents.
The exact number of students admitted to UHS on Saturday for alcohol-related problems is not yet available, according to the Office of Public Affairs.
Although police said they encountered little resistance when enforcing the rules, not everybody observed the new regulations, Patten said.
“There was a significant movement toward the game, [but] we didn’t get 100 percent compliance,” he said. “Some people got up on top of U-Hauls. There are always people that are going to test the limits a little bit, but it wasn’t a confrontational situation.”
Patten said he expects compliance to improve at future tailgates as fans become more familiar with the rules.
“What the University is trying to do is shift paradigms, [and] that’s not something that’s going to happen overnight,” Patten said. “I was pleasantly surprised by the degree of cooperation that came from everybody involved.”
Athletics Director Tom Beckett said he thought the regulations were “moderately successful.” He said he was pleased with the number of students who came to The Game during the second half, which he attributed to the new regulations.
“The end result was a marvelous turnout of Yale students,” he said. “They created a spectacular environment for a college football game.”
University officials will meet to discuss the results of the new rules and possible changes, Patten said.
Some students who attended the tailgates said that because the rules were not strictly enforced, they did not significantly hinder the festivities.
“It didn’t seem as though they really followed the tailgate rules that closely,” Abigail Coplin ’08 said. “They didn’t really shut the tailgate down at halftime.”
Alex Cavoulacos ’08 said she did not see any police officers enforcing the rules, although she did not witness any major violations either. She said the new rules did not significantly affect the amount of alcohol consumed at the tailgates, but she thought they did encourage students to be more responsible.
“I think everyone had a fabulous time,” she said. “People were drinking, [but] they weren’t going overboard.”
Many students said transportation to and from the Yale Bowl was a bigger inconvenience than the tailgating regulations. Some said they encountered long lines for buses to the field, while others said there were large and somewhat violent crowds waiting for transportation back to campus.
Cavoulacos said she and her friends decided to walk to the Yale Bowl after they saw the line in front of Payne Whitney Gym.
“We figured it would probably take as long to wait as it would to walk,” she said.
Some students said the situation after The Game was even worse. Matthew Daly ’06 said the wait for the return shuttle service got out of control as students crowded around buses outside of the stadium.
“It started out with an organized line, but those lines sort of devolved into chaos rapidly,” he said. “A lot of people felt like there should have been more buses available.”
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