News Ticker

Alcohol policy is not clear for tailgates

Arbiter Archive

If you have been to a home game tailgate around the stadium you have encountered booze of some kind. It is everywhere. It’s not a dream, Boise State is still a dry campus, sometimes, sort of.

The rules for alcohol are not clear for tailgates. If you check with officers at the tailgate in the tent where they offer breathalyzer testing, they will explain that on game-day you may have alcohol as long as it’s in a container of some kind, and within the stadium parking lot, otherwise you risk an open container

“Yeah, you can have a beer in here,” said the nice officer, manning the tent with a smile.

So game on! Walk around with your Rolling Rock in a Solo cup through the various tailgate tents. This is how it should be all the time. You’re still going to find booze all over the place, not just in the parking lot where it’s supposed to be. Yet it seems like just as much of a non-issue out of the stadium parking lot as it is inside the parking lot. Perhaps I am mistaken but the Alumni Center and University Drive are not part of the stadium parking lot, and neither Jack Daniels or Kahlua make non-alcoholic drinks. But I would not say the security personell were concerned, and why should they be. As one of them told me Saturday, “it’s a pretty good crowd.”

As much as I want to trust the officer, I don’t believe him, because every rule I can find from Boise State says otherwise. Article 4 Section 2 of the student code of conduct says, “A violation may include, but is not limited to, possession, consumption, or distribution of alcoholic beverages. This is prohibited in University owned, leased, or operated facilities and on campus grounds unless otherwise allowed by university policy.” But no other university policy you can find explicitly allows alcohol. Even tailgating 101  a set of guidelines for tailgates September of this year which briefly mentions the banning of drinking games, it never explicitly mentions if alcohol is allowed or not. Stating that state laws regarding use and possession of alcohol will be in effect on campus is great, but what are those laws?

The Arbiter attempted to contact campus security for a clear answer, and was referred back to sources on the internet.

The university should fall on one side of the fence or the other on their alcohol policy. If we’re going to be cool about alcohol during tailgates then we should not be a dry campus, and if we are going to be serious about being a dry campus then we need to get serious about enforcing alcohol policy all the time. But nobody wants the latter.

The reality is currently, alcohol is illegal within the boundaries of campus, but during tailgates nobody is going to be cited as long as they are of legal age, not making a scene and taking the time to pour their beverages into something.

Anyone doubting the popularity of alcohol during home games just needed to take a stroll down University Drive during the home game on Saturday. Those Solo cups are as full of Cuba Libre as they are Coca-Cola.

Andrew Hildebrandt is a senior studying finance, and he was one of many fans at Saturday’s home game versus San Diego State University.

“I think it all boils down to money, I don’t think people would show up if they couldn’t drink booze really. So, especially in the parking lots where you have to pay whatever it is for your tailgate spot, and I don’t think the school is willing to give up the money, so they turn the other way when it turns to drinking beers and stuff,” Hildebrandt said.

The university has so many asterisks in their alcohol policy it begs the question why they continue to be so stringent about barring legal adults from alcoholic beverages outside of the stadium parking lot on game day.

Recently the university let Jimmy Buffet and his fans set up their own Margaritaville in the parking lot and released a statement saying, “Boise State University will enforce a zero tolerance policy on inappropriate behavior and underage drinking. Drinking games, excessive drinking, disorderly conduct, alcohol abuse and uncivil behavior toward others are not acceptable.”

Why didn’t they just say “No alcohol, just like other events.” What part of those guidelines is not in blatant disregard of Article 4 Section 2 of the Student Code of Conduct? Maybe Jimmy Buffet fans wouldn’t show up to a show if they couldn’t drink. Mostly it seems the university just shelves its alcohol policy under certain circumstances. Not to say that is a bad thing, especially since Jimmy Buffet fans seemed quite happy after the show. But perhaps Article 4 Section 2 needs to be revised.

Why don’t tailgates for football games receive some kind of  staunch clarification?

Fans would likely appreciate knowing all the details. It’s not something that is obvious. Luckily some fans are willing to step up and help try to shed light on the gray area.

Derek Castle of wrote a fantastic guide this year called Tailgating for Dummies.   Blue Turf Nation is a popular local sports blog which focuses on Boise State football. The blog has earned recognition from major sports media outlets like ESPN.

In addition to great advice for parking during a home game he explains in simple detail how to drink booze at the tailgate without getting cited, and it is not hard. His advice is already common practice.

Tailgates should be a great example that the collective college community around campus is probably mature enough to handle legal drinking, especially during a sporting event where many of the tailgaters are people well over 21 anyway.

The tailgates surrounding the stadium are not full of sports hooligans flipping cars and getting into drunken brawls. Many people who go to our games are families with kids and they just want to enjoy the game.

Getting wasted and duking it out with fans from opposing teams is not the aim of tailgates and instances of such douche-baggery are not high enough to justify banning alcohol outright at games. Additionally, people who are prone to such douche-baggery would behave in such a way regardless.

Boise State should revise their alcohol policy and clarify the rules during tailgate parties. People deserve some clarity and consistency, and as long as we’re going to carry on pretending to be a dry campus we ought to at least know for sure what the rules are supposed to be.

[poll id=”717″]

About Zachary Chastaine (0 Articles)
Zachary studies English technical writing at Boise State and previously wrote for the Portland State Vanguard. An enthusiast of downhill mountain biking, craft beers and automotive racing Zach hopes to continue his writing studies overseas at Oxford Brookes.