Underage drinking, vandalism, fighting and student safety in general were all concerns of university officials when they tightened the reigns on tailgating. However, attendance at the football tradition has dropped, and lower numbers during tailgating mean lower sales for some Muncie businesses.
Tim Canode, manager of Stadium Marathon gas station, 2905 W. Bethel Ave., located across from the tailgating field, said his sales have dropped 15 percent since the guidelines were enforced.
"I have mixed feelings about the new tailgating guidelines," Canode said. "There used to be quite a crowd, but it has really diminished."
Canode said on previous game day afternoons at least 30 people are either waiting in line for the bathroom or buying ice or snack foods. According to University Police, this past Saturday, tailgating attendance had dropped by about a third according to University Police, and there were only two customers at Stadium Marathon -- neither of which were tailgaters.
Canode is a Ball State sports fan and he said he wants students to have fun and enjoy tailgating. He said he knows the new guidelines are for the best.
Stadium Marathon employee Lyndsay Butor said the store prepares for game days differently than regular days. More ice is bagged, the men's bathroom becomes unisex and an extra employee is scheduled.
"We get some pretty loud drunks," Butor said. "By the end of the day it gets pretty loud and annoying."
Canode said in the past he has found half-eaten bags of chips and other food after everyone clears out. Ice is stolen regularly, and a large mirror was stolen right off the wall, Canode said. In some respects, he is glad tailgating is being restricted.
Muncie Liquor store manager Kevin "Bubba" Smith said tailgating guidelines are too strict.
"It (the new tailgating guidelines) hasn't affected our sales," Smith said. "This just proves that people are buying the same amount of alcohol and drinking at home."
He said he is in favor of eliminating the underage drinking, but he thinks the other restrictions are taking the fun out of tailgating.
University Police Detective Kent Kurtz said even if the low attendance means people are at home drinking, it is better than having them act out of control and driving home while intoxicated.