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Post UGA announces Prohibition Zones

Friday July 28, 2006

UPDATE: As a followup to my post earlier this week about the informational GamedayGameplan site, UGA has now added some more details to the site. The locations for the "Family Friendly Tailgate Zones" (FFTZ) have been set, and it’s caused quite a bit of reaction. Some of the best greenspace on campus has been reclaimed. The campus’s gateway, the Arch, lies within one of these areas. I’ve been pretty positive or at least lukewarm about most of the gameday changes, but we begin to part ways today.

Georgia Sports Blog already has some good comments on the plan, and I echo most of them. The point about the mixed group is especially strong. Most tailgates of any size fit into this group – you might have a mix of singles, relatives, couples, kids, and so on. If any of them prefer to have a drink before the game, the group has to make a decision, and it likely won’t be in favor of the FFTZ. Let’s face it – you’re probably talking about the more interesting people in your group. It will be interesting to see what kinds of tailgates migrate there. I can see some church groups setting up shop, but many of them already have private tailgates at their own campus facilities.

We can get rid of the "family" label right away. Everyone knows this is all about alcohol, and UGA admits as much. "Providing certain ‘alcohol-free’ zones preserves the tradition of families enjoying UGA sporting events together without the disruption of fans who refuse to drink responsibly," claims the site. Apparently the presence of alcohol at your tailgate makes it hostile to families. This is the South, after all – most of our families need alcohol in order to make other family members tolerable.

Almost everything about the zones set them up for very limited use, and perhaps that’s the intent. The North Campus location runs right by President Adams’ North Campus office, and it’s no accident that this area was the place that got trashed after the Auburn game last year. I’d find it hard to believe that claiming much of this area for the FFTZ wasn’t a reaction to that incident. There isn’t much parking in the immediate location of either zone, and anyone wanting to set up a serious tailgate in these areas would either have to arrive early to claim what parking there is nearby or haul their equipment from one of the parking decks within walking distance. Neither case seems very likely.

So because students couldn’t handle themselves at the Auburn game, we get this plan. You can bet these Prohibition Zones will be strictly enforced. With President Adams’ publicized crackdown on student drinking, there is no way they will be lax with a high-profile gameday alcohol-free experiment. It’s much easier to rope off entire areas from responsible tailgaters than it is to identify those who do trash the campus. The likely outcome is that a much smaller number of people will choose to tailgate in these areas, and tailgating will be pushed further out into the periphery of campus away from these core areas as affected tailgates look for new locations. As I said before, isn’t it likely that this is exactly the intent?

If it weren’t the intent, why aren’t the family areas out in the wide-open spaces of the intramural fields? There are plenty of parking spaces, no stray drunks from downtown wandering by, and shuttles to the stadium. There is easy access from the bypass for typically late-arriving families. Friendly, friendly, friendly.

As each day passes, I’m more glad that my group has invested in private parking this year. The extravagant prices of Tailgate Station aren’t necessary – for a reasonable amount not much more than the $20 per game that they charge in the University parking decks, you can be in a private lot near campus with a guaranteed spot and without this whimsical and reactionary nonsense.

Here’s a nother good response.

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