BY LEXI MALINOWSKI
The lot outside the stadium had a cheerful beat to it, with people laughing and an occasional ‘clink’ from a game of horseshoes.
When the whistle blew, the stadium murmured with little to no fans in sight.
Salisbury University students at the tailgate on Feb. 18 celebrated, but, come game time, the tailgate had moved to a different street rather than the stands.
SU followed up the incident by cancelling the following tailgate, changing the rules to limit alcohol consumption and regulate parking, possibly impacting turnout for tailgates to come.
Sophomore McKinsey Middleton shared her reaction to the changes.
“I thought the rule changes were a little drastic for the kind of event it is,” Middleton said. “Canceling it was unnecessary; nothing serious happened, no one got hurt, so I didn’t see a need to cancel it.”
Junior Kaylie Dunbar worked as an EMT at tailgates in the fall semester.
“I don’t think anything happened that they shouldn’t have expected to happen. Tailgating was fine the way it was.” Dunbar said.
Alcohol was limited to beer and wine, but students could bring as much as they wanted. Now, students are limited to six alcoholic beverages per person, still allowing only beer and wine.
Tailgates now have drop-off zones where people can unload their grills, coolers and games versus parking their cars there.
Interim Director of Athletics, Dr. Gerard DiBartolo, said these changes were made to avoid drunk driving and a mass consumption of alcohol without the intent of going to the game.
DiBartolo said the cancellation was due to many concerns that had been brought to the committee’s attention.
“There were concerns for student safety, concerns from community members because of an incident in a residential area,” DiBartolo said. “Concerns of people not attending the game after and concerns to the whole purpose and reason for tailgating.”
DiBartolo is a part of a committee, with Vice President of Student Affairs
Dr. Dane Foust and Chief of University Police Edwin Lashley. They are in charge of tailgating rules, expectations and planning the tailgates.
DiBartolo estimated that at the first football tailgate and the homecoming football game, around 500 people attended each tailgate and the mass majority went to the game.
The outcome of the tailgate before the women’s lacrosse game in February contrasted to the previous tailgates in the fall.
The tailgate following the women’s lacrosse game had no turn out. DiBartolo said a few factors were involved in the reason why no one went.
“You have to keep in mind, it was very cold and early on a Sunday morning, people couldn’t drive in and park, and there were the rule changes,” DiBartolo said.
Middleton said she plans on going to future tailgates despite the rule changes.
“I think the reason no one went was to protest the new rules and because of how early it was, but they’ll get over it and start going,” Middleton said.
Gabbi Nieves, a senior on SU’s women’s lacrosse team, said the team did not really know that there was a tailgate for their game and they were not expecting to see many people there.
“We love having fans; we play a lot better when we have an audience,” Nieves said, “It’s cool that our school has tailgates, but I think the new rules will make people not want to go.”
DiBartolo said he is hopeful for the future of tailgating and wants to see it continue.
“We would love for tailgating to be an experiment that works. It becomes an opportunity to build school spirit and [an] opportunity for students and community members to come together and support the athletic teams,” DiBartolo said.
“It will continue and continue to build. We want people to come, we want it to be packed, and we’re hopeful that this will help us build that student pride in the university.”