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Thursday, March 18, 2010

UGA Cracks Down on North Campus Tailgates

If you haven't seen it already, there are new tailgating regulations out for North Campus -- and they're not pretty.

Essentially anything beyond a picnic blanket and an iPod will be off limits, and if you're hoping to bring a TV and a keg and a grill... you're going to have to move elsewhere.

Given the problems that occurred repeatedly last season, this really shouldn't come as much of a surprise. There were warnings, and while things improved marginally, it wasn't enough.

The general response thus far seems to be a cross between bewilderment and outrage -- directed both at the school for implementing the new regulations and at the tailgaters who ruined the fun for everyone else.

I can understand both opinions. After all, alumni and fans pay an awful lot of money to spend a Saturday in Athens, and this is a big blow to the game-day routines for many of them. At the same time, the state of North Campus after several home games last season was an absolute disgrace and a black eye for the school. (Seriously, why do you want to give Tech fans a reason to make fun of you?)

But here's my problem with this: The litter was not caused by tailgating. It was caused by morons.

The new rules essentially eliminate any serious tailgating, but the school can't ban being an idiot. And in the end, the idiots will still show up -- they'll just cause their damage elsewhere.

What seems to me to be a far more reasonable solution would be to charge a significant fee to tailgate on North Campus -- no different than a seat licensing fee in the stadium. This creates a sense of ownership of the area. You buy the spot, and it's yours on game day. It's one thing to watch someone trash a parking spot -- it's another to watch your neighbor trash his lawn. The sense of ownership will hopefully create more self-policing.

Of course, it would also generate revenue -- revenue that should be spent on additional trash cans, additional port-o-johns and additional security. This alone should have a marked effect on the number of people trashing the area.

Third, the school should have strict regulations about littering, public urination and destruction of property with hefty fines. The tailgate licensing fees could allow UGA to hire more security to patrol the area, and the fines will create additional revenue that can be used to clean up the area after game day while at the same time, hopefully discouraging the people who may have been inclined to leave a bunch of trash behind.

Again, not a foolproof plan, but certainly one that seems a more palatable plan for everyone and likely a more effective longterm solution. Because if all you're doing is moving the idiots elsewhere, you're going to find yourself cleaning up just as much of a mess, just spread out in more places.

5 comments:

Ubiquitous GA Alum said...

Not sure that charging would be the answer. Yes it would clean up North Campus, but only because market substitution would occur.

In other words, people would look for the free tailgating spots and go there. The largest segment would be the students and recent alum groups. They'd just gather in another locale and replicate the same boorish behavior.

IMO, enforcing the existing laws such as consumption/possession by a minor would do a lot to stem the problem.

As for money, the Athletic Dept is swimming in it. They could easily afford to hire more security.

As it stands now, the more responsible tailgaters will leave North Campus. The students and recent alum will just have more space to roam and trash ... Notice nothing changes for them. They can still drink and litter ...

Anonymous said...

People tend to forget that nearly 100,000 people are in the stands. And more than likely, more than 100,000 are tailgating.

Anytime you get that many people in one area - you're going to get some unruly and untidy behavior. To me, the system creates the excess. The only way to get rid of the chaos and littering is to get rid of the game itself. That'll never happen for obvious reasons.

So I say "deal with it". Or, do something about it.

Either move to another tailgate spot or try to create a different culture in the area. The Broken Windows theory is still alive and well...

Ask Rudy Guiliani if you need an explanation.

Anonymous said...

It wouldnt be ownership, it would be "renting" and we all know how that goes on property...

Lawrence said...

Why not lease sections of the area to non-profit, civic groups. They could then rent out space then use the money in their communities. These groups would be responsible for policing and cleaning up their ares. Thus, the best of two worlds
A) generate revenue for both the University and civic groups and II.) have a specific, responsible party for each area.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't hurt my feelings whatsoever. In fact, in a selfish kind of away, I'm pleased.

I spend an awful lot of money to get that game day parking pass only to have seen over the years more and more empty parking spots which equals less fun. I'd appreciate more demand and more folks tailgating in my area and ultimately this will drive them there.

I've grown tired of hearing friends comment they'd rather tailgate on N. campus then w/me at my spot. Not any more...