Kentucky students woke up this morning to what must have been a disconcerting email from their school president, Eli Capilouto, letting them know that student tailgating along Cooper Drive—which normally sees DJs, bands, and thousands of students boozing—has been banned for the South Carolina game on Saturday. The ban stems from a fight caught on video last week at the Western Kentucky tailgate.
Here's the full email:
Colleagues and Students,
Each year, a rite of fall on our campus is tailgating at football games. Fortunately, the vast majority of people who participate in these activities, including our students, celebrate responsibly and appropriately.
That atmosphere -- part of what makes our campus so special -- is something we all want to promote.
But two weeks ago, before and after the game with Western Kentucky University, a small number of people acted in a manner that seriously threatened the safety of those around them and of police and other safety officials who are there to protect us all.
Such behavior will not be tolerated.
As a result, the following steps are being taken this weekend during the game against the University of South Carolina:
· There will be an increased police, athletics and student affairs presence in the areas that were negatively impacted two weeks ago -- the non-reserved tailgate space along Cooper Drive between Sports Center Drive and University Drive.
· No alcohol will be allowed in that area. Police and state alcohol beverage control officials will be citing people who serve or use alcohol in that area.
· No DJs or bands will be allowed to set up in this area as well.
· Individuals or student organizations that promote drinking or that utilize DJs and bands in this area will be subject to disciplinary actions by our Dean of Students Office that could, ultimately, impact their organizational status.
We want people to attend games. We want all of you to tailgate and enjoy each other's company in a responsible fashion. But we will not allow actions and behaviors that threaten the safety of our students, our fans or of officials who are present to protect everyone.
Thank you for your help and cooperation in ensuring that everyone at our games is assured of a safe, comfortable and enjoyable experience.
University of Kentucky
Is this going to end badly? Yes. From our tipster: "Students already dislike the president (hired last year) since he didn't allow classes to be canceled in the days leading up to and after winning National Championship. In fact, every student wants our head coach fired since last season, and to now prohibit the main reason everyone looked forward to going to the games (at least tailgating for them) is taken away makes it worse.... Now thousands of students will have to go to other spots around the stadium that are usually reserved for alumni, older-people fans, sponsors, etc for tailgating or will have to tailgate at the surrounding houses 2 blocks from the stadium." Sounds like a recipe for disaster.
My two cents: As a recent Duke grad, who saw our student tailgates canceled after a minor was found passed out in a porta-potty a couple of years ago, I think I can speak with some authority on what's happening here. College administrations typically aren't huge fans of binge drinking occurring near old alums (go figure!) and stay on the lookout for a scapegoat who will provide an excuse to change policy. A passed-out kid did that in Durham, a viral fight video does that in Lexington. So this isn't a surprising development from the president.
What will be important to see going forward is to see if the administration realizes its mistake, especially when police calls start rolling in near frat houses off-campus. Gut instinct tells me that confining the drinking to the small area near Cooper is more safe than having students drink around and off campus. Look to see this ban overturned soon.
H/T: Kentucky Sports Radio, Reader email