After drawing near record numbers in the Bearkat football season opener last Thursday, university officials have decided to implement a new set of rules for game day at Bowers Stadium and tailgating in Bearkat Alley.
Beginning this Saturday, those wishing to tailgate in Bearkat Alley will need to reserve a spot for the season. Reservations will require a fee starting at $40 per space and will be good for the remainder of the regular season. Free tailgating will still be available but will be restricted to a general area and will only be available on a first-come first-serve basis.
“We basically decided it would cost $10 per game. Initially, it could [affect attendance], but it will be better for the area long term,” Assistant Director for Athletic Development Bobby Jordan said.
According to Jordan, the number of fans who tailgate before games has grown exponentially and implementing a reservation fee for spaces should create more room for pre-game activities for fans.
“The main thing was the number of people. This will create more space, and allow for a more interactive, fan-friendly environment,” Jordan said.
Thursdays’ game drew 10,517 fans for one of the largest crowds to pack Bowers Stadium in recent history.
The money raised by the reservation fees will be used for security in Bearkat Alley, consisting of two University Police Department officers who will be present beginning at 7 a.m. on game day, according to Jordan.
All vehicle traffic in and out of Bearkat Alley will be cut off at both entrances from Bearkat Blvd. three hours prior to kick off in an attempt to provide more room for pre-game celebrations.
Though more fans than ever before are flocking to Bearkat Alley on game day, officials believe there is still room for more, and they hope introducing new rules and new activities will help attract those still sitting out the game at home.
“Student Activities has done a good job of contacting all of the student organizations, and I think they’ve had a good response,” Jordan said. “We hope this will draw more people to the area.”
Organizations that wish to make a reservation in Bearkat Alley can do so by contacting Student Activities at (936) 294-3861 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org