Tailgating policy tested at first home game

Jeromy Stacy


Family day visitors Triston Oliphant and Emilio Ramirez throw around the football in the tailgate area as tailgaters start to arrive around 3 p.m. Photo by Cooper Miller
Family day visitors Triston Oliphant and Emilio Ramirez throw around the football in the tailgate area as tailgaters start to arrive around 3 p.m. Photo by Cooper Miller

Rain or shine, student tailgaters and their families were out early Saturday at the first of four home games. With the Mustangs taking on Oklahoma Panhandle State, the party started with the first of the tailgaters arriving around 3p.m. However, the new tailgating policy didn’t stop all questionable behavior.

One part of the policy being interpreted differently dealt with alcohol consumption. Although one version of the policy stated, “Wichita Falls ISD does not allow the possession or consumption of alcoholic beverages on its property.” However, according to Thurman Jones, university police officer, while last year drinking was prohibited, this year it wasn’t.

University police officer, Julie Elliot, said, “I know on Wichita Falls ISD properties there is no drinking, but since these are college age, I believe if you are over the age of 21, and you drink responsibly, I think it’s ok.”

Glass containers are still prohibited, however as are open containers inside of vehicles. In addition, MWSU officials cut tailgating short, closing all tailgating activities after the end of first quarter, not halftime like last year.

Carolyn Sims, junior in education, said, “Freshman year was really leniant. Now it’s my fourth year. Last year you had to be in the game by halftime, and now it’s in by the end of first quarter.”

Senior in business, former football team member, and member of Sigma Nu, Chase Bowman, supports the new policy.

“The thing that I like the most is the fact that you actually have to actually go in and watch the game,” said Bowman. “It got annoying to me when there would be people out here all the way until the end of the game. Whenever you are in the 4th quarter, you’ve still got a couple of minutes left, and it’s literally neck and neck, having your school there to support you makes a big difference,” added Bowman.

Not all of the rules were supported, though. A cooler full of glass bottles was left out in the open. People were pouring drinks in side of their car.

Tres Leal, kinesiology freshman, said, “It’s one of those things that’s like, as long as no one acts stupid, it’s not that big of a deal.”

Although some students were clearly violoating the policies, Jones said, for example, he asked students with glass bottles to put their drinks away and out of sight. He also said they were trying to be tolerable, while discouraging underage drinking. He also emphasized their most important goal: to ensure the safety of all the tailgaters.

Jones said, “So far it’s going well. It’s kind of a test run. We are trying to see what’s going to work and what’s not going to work.”

One of the problems officers identified was parking inside the designated tailgate area. In the future, he said they intend on making tailgaters drop off their trailers inside and park their cars outside of the area at the next home game.

Parking might have been one problem, the weather was another. No one tried tailgating past first quarter due to the storms. With 9 minutes and 22 seconds left in the first quarter, the game was postponed at 7:29. Remaining tailgaters quickly left.

University officer Ohmstede said,”It was lightening that caused the game to be cancelled.”

According to Ohmstede, the game was officially called at approximately 9:20p.m.

On Saturday, two different guides were in circulation, creating confusion regarding the policy changes.