Robby General is a junior journalism and telecommunications major and writes 'Generally Speaking' for the Daily News. His views do not necessarily agree with those of the newspaper. Write to Robby at

Robby General

After two weeks on the road, the Ball State football season is in full swing as the Cardinals return home for the first time this season. Before the team takes the gridiron Sept. 17, thousands of fans outside of Scheumann Stadium will all be doing one thing — tailgating.

The excitement leading into the event can be unbearable or even overwhelming for some, but there are certain guidelines to follow. Whether you're a Ball State student, lifelong Cardinal fan or visiting parent, here's a list of do's and don'ts to for the pregame ritual.


  • Bring Friends

If there's one way to ensure you'll get up early on a Saturday morning, it's bringing a friend. Whether it's your roommate or parents, be sure to notify and bring someone along for the ride. Tip: No one tailgates alone.

  • Dress Up

Body paint, costumes and Cardinal gear, oh my. Who's going to remember the person who come to a tailgate in jeans and a T-shirt? No one. Get crazy and have fun, but be smart because remember, it's still a family-friendly event.

  • Eat

Whether you're above the age of 21 with a cooler full of beer or a freshman stepping on to your first tailgate, eat beforehand. The fields open at 11 a.m. (four hours before game time) and you're going to want to either bring food or have something in your stomach before you suffer through aisle after aisle of grilled grub.

  • Find a truck

Trucks at tailgates are just about as American as apple pie. Seriously. Find a truck, bring some speakers and have a good time.

  • Go to the game

At most universities, this would be obvious, but many Ball State students tend to forget about the following game. So many people go to tailgate, but don't find their way into the stadium stands. Watch a college football game while it's free and you're still an undergraduate.


  • Go alone

As stated earlier, bring a friend ... or twelve. Not only should you bring friends to tailgate, but you should always leave to the fields with them. Don't be the person who says, "Yeah, I'll meet you there!" and be forced to look through a sea of people and motorized vehicles only to realize you were in the wrong parking lot the entire time.

  • Act reckless

This should go without saying, but be smart. Don't do anything you will regret the next evening or later in the day. Be smart — the fields are part of university grounds and both state and federal laws still apply. Tip: Don't do anything you wouldn't want your mom to see.

  • Talk exclusively to people you're with

A little less obvious, but don't be afraid to venture outside of your friend group and associate with other people. You can stay close to your friends, but talk to other people as well. No other time in your college career will you be with as many locals from the surrounding community.

  • Leave early

There is no excuse to leave early. Tailgate opens four hours before the game and closes 15 minutes before the game. That's plenty of time to find a seat in Scheumann Stadium for opening kickoff.

  • Bring things you don't need

This includes phone, keys, wallet or anything else you might be scared of losing. If you think it might happen, it probably will. It's better to make different arrangements to avoid losing valuable items.