How New Restrictions Ruined Tailgating At Florida International University

Photo: Erik Von Weber (Getty Images)

There is an ongoing saga occurring within the confines of a parking lot in Sweetwater, Florida. It’s a battle between Florida International University‘s student government and a bunch of horny Greeks. The victim? Tailgating.

For the 2018 season, FIU established several new tailgating rules that include no lawful possession or distribution of drugs or controlled substances, including alcohol; only university-approved parties can possess alcohol. Kegs, beer funnels, glass containers, and speaker systems are banned. Students must also pick up their own trash. (You can read the full guidelines here.)

In response to these new restrictions and other ongoing issues with the student government, FIU’s fraternities and sororities boycotted the tailgate, “highly encouraging” their members not to attend.

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As a result of the controversy, only tumbleweeds, crickets, and one student organization tent could be found in the stadium lot on game day.

(Some FIU alumni and current students blamed the low attendance on the Labor Day holiday weekend, which might be partially true but is more likely laughable.)

How did FIU expect anyone to attend tailgates after banning alcohol and music, the very essentials of any college gathering? Some students did set up an alternative tailgate that included alcohol but it was described by its attendees as “whack.”

To add insult to injury, FIU lost their matchup against the Hoosiers 38 to 28.

If this struggle continues, FIU’s already shaky recruitment will be further hampered, even with Butch Davis at the helm. How can you entice players to come to your school if you can’t even get students to walk to the parking lot? This lack of school spirit will turn away some potential recruits, causing the team to tank, which will turn away more students. Every action FIU and the FIU student body take simply lead to an even emptier stadium. You’re not going to engage students without alcohol, music, people, or a team that can only beat non-power conference teams.

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This is not to say changes did not need to be made to FIU’s tailgating situation. Police officers dealt with numerous instances of underage drinking, the fraternities acted like animals, and the lot had more litter than a 1960s highway. And while those problems have been solved, it didn’t happen in the fashion that FIU desired. The whole situation is a classic case of overkill. More sensible rules could have been enacted to curb the chaos.