Kegs eliminated from tailgating to cut liabilities

Note: This story originally appeared in the Saturday, Oct. 20 issue of the Ball State Daily News.

Though drinking has not been eliminated from tailgating, kegs have been.

Tailgaters feel there is no justification for this restriction.

"What's the difference between bringing kegs and whiskey?" senior Megan Shipman said.

Shipman, who has tailgated with a keg this year, said the University Police Department was very cooperative with those who brought kegs to tailgate.

"They could have tried to slap on a bunch of public intoxication tickets, but they respectfully asked us to take the keg home," Shipman said. "They are doing a good job of keeping tailgating under control."

Senior Jason Brock and his roommate senior Ryan Brown, who have brought kegs in the past, decided not to have a keg at their tailgating party this Saturday.

"We've had a couple of kegs at every game," Brock said. "Last time they (police) made us leave."

Brown added that this method was preferable to having the tailgater arrested or making them dump the keg out.

Brock said he had no trouble complying with police, but he does not understand why kegs are not allowed.

"They told us we could fill up the whole back of our truck with beer as long as there was no keg in there," Brock said. "I don't see the justification."

According to Brock, buying a keg saves money in the long run.

"If you have to keep buying cases of beer, the cost adds up pretty quickly," Brock said.

Randy Hyman, Dean of Students said part of the reasoning for restricting kegs is that they can hold a greater quantity of alcohol than other containers.

"Huge numbers of people are drinking beyond the point of excess," Hyman said. "When people are that drunk, there are liability concerns."

Hyman said those who do drink irresponsibly at tailgating are creating a dangerous situation for themselves and others.

Associate Athletic Director Cal Kuphall said the university has no problem with responsible tailgating.

"I don't think tailgating in itself is bad," Kuphall said. "As far as the presence of alcohol, if there is any abuse, that is where problems come in."

Kuphall said there is a difference between tailgating and partying.

"Students, alumni, businesses and friends of the university make tailgating part of the football day," Kuphall said. "People who are not there in the spirit of the game and come to party are tailgating for a different purpose.

Shipman and Brock disagree.

"I understand that to the school drinking is not a good thing," Shipman said. "If you are of age, I don't see a problem with bringing alcohol to tailgate. We still are displaying a good amount of school spirit."

Brock said that drinking and tailgating is evident in professional sports, and tailgating does not keep him from attending the game.

"If they don't have tailgating, no one is going to go," Brock said.

According to Hyman, tailgating could possibly end. However, he said it is being judged on a game-by-game basis. Hyman said there was no specific reason to abolish kegs.

Shipman suggested that students who decide to bring any alcohol need to be ready to comply with police, especially those who choose to bring kegs.

"We got approached once," Shipman said. "We had a hard time because at first, no one claimed it."

The amount of trash generated by tailgating is also a concern. Those who sell parking tickets have offered tailgaters trash bags to help keep the field west of Tillotson clean, Hyman said.

"If everyone used that, there would be far less mess at the end of the game," he said.

Glass that has not been properly disposed of causes a health and safety concern for those who use the field for activities. Hyman suggested using more plastic coolers and aluminum containers instead of glass bottles.

"We are making sure no one's behavior is causing a threat to the health and safety of themselves or others," Hyman said.

Hyman said the university does not have the resources available to enforce underage drinking laws.

"We don't have time to check everyone's ID," Hyman said. "We are looking at the big picture."


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