Editorial / Voices

“Failgate” strikes out for second year with no sign of recovery

Representatives of Central Michigan University’s administration, athletic department and police department can blame it on the weather, the weak competition or the hand of God.

The fact remains for the second year in a row tailgating in lot 63 before the CMU football team’s home opener was an unmitigated failure. At this point, a complete reversal of all the policies and restrictions placed on tailgating would probably not be enough to salvage the pastime at CMU.

Police Chief Bill Yeagley’s estimates of 800 to 1,000 people in attendance are far more than kind.

Previous to the 2009 policies put in place — a limit on how much alcohol one person can bring to the lot — the tailgate at CMU was regarded as one of the best in the state, often mentioned in the same breath as Michigan State University. It was a part of the university’s culture and now that is lost, perhaps, forever.

It did bring more partiers, and things were raucous, but it also brought more people to the football games and into the community, meaning more patronage for local businesses.

Although it takes place on CMU property, tailgating has never been a university event. A tailgate is simply a gathering of people with the common interest of drinking, eating food and celebrating before a football game. There is a certain sense of independence and, perhaps, a sense of roguishness as well.

It is not the specifics of the policies that have deterred people from congregating in lot 63; most tailgaters would probably not consume more than six beers or one pint of liquor anyway.

The fact that there are rules and regulations is what has squashed the tailgate culture. Tailgate was something that many fans and students felt belonged to them and these rules have made it clear that it does not belong to them any more.

If the restrictions on tailgating are ever repealed, it will not be because the fans or students took it back from the university, but because the university gave it back to them. Because of this, we will likely never again see the tailgate at CMU as the epicenter of mid-Michigan youth culture it once was.

But at least there is no broken glass in the parking lot.


  1. Tailgating is one issue that actually has been going on for years. But the main issue now is the football schedule. Saturdays in the Fall are made for College football games – not Thursday or Friday nights. Having only three Saturday games limits the number of alumni and attendees that go to the game, shop in Mt. Pleasant and eat at the many fine establishments. Alumni have jobs and we can't afford to take super long weekends to attend a football game. Put the games back on Saturday then work on tailgating.

    • Real Chippewa Fan says:

      Unfortunately, CMU has decided that it can only promote its football program by hosting Thursday or Friday football games, which is unfortunate because most of these games go uncovered by the television stations. (Remember the Central-Western match a couple years ago that was on a Thursday only because ESPN was going to broadcast it? The only problem? It was never broadcast.)

  2. Alright, CM-Life, it's time to stop complaining about tailgating policies and start focusing on things that really matter to the betterment of Central Michigan University. Tailgating hardly strikes me as a crucial component of CMU and likely (and rightfully so) falls somewhere near the bottom of the priority list.

  3. Dougie Serb-'90 Alumnus says:

    Editorial Board: R U 4 or against tailgating? You make no clear distinction, which is whatan editorial is all about. It's like you're trying to state both sides wthout really letting anyone know how you feel, for fear of repercussions. It's as if you are at work, don't agree with the policy, yet you don't want to offend upper management. Well, I say this is a crock! All colleges have tailgating which involves alcohol and parties. CMU away games against Georgia and Clemson clearly illustrated tailgating is a main part of the game day's activity. Get off the fence, editorial board! You actually allow the institution to dictate the atmosphere at a CMU football game? There would be no school without the students and Alumni. We as students and Alumni rule what goes on at a CMU football game, and start reminding the powers that be that is our school! Fire up Chips and party on!!

    • Is Glen Beck a terrorist? says:

      Is reading comprehension “2 hrd 4 U?” Referring to it as “Failgate” isn't clear enough? How dumb are you?

      • Dougie Serb-'90 Alumnus says:

        Hey, Ball O knee smoker, if you really read the article (you know, the thing AFTER the title), you'd be able to understand what I stated…just because you have a title (“Failgate”), you should be able to not be so politically correct and really support the title. Oh, you're used to picture books, aren't you…A mind is a terrible thing to waste (but I guess it's too late for you)

        • Is Glen Beck a terrorist? says:

          Out of all those who've commented, you're the only one that seems to have a problem figuring it out. Did a single wry observation at the end confuse your simple mind?

          Perhaps you're used to Fox News. Is that why you seem to consider civility to be “politically correct?” And why you're a homophobic bigot? Combined with being a simpleton, that puts you solidly in their key demographic.

  4. O.K. Apparently this is a snit that the writer cannot let go. This is the arena in which we hope to compete with MSU?

  5. Real Chippewa Fan says:

    I, for one, don't have a problem with the absence of drunk hooligans before CMU football games, especially as the vast majority of these self-purported fans never bothered to watch the game.

  6. The ignorance by you self proclaimed “real fans” and supporters has reached new heights. Any action by the University that can visibly and statistically show a VAST disagreeance by students and alumni should be examined and changed. Because some of you don't drink or don't have friends to meet up with before games doesn't mean it's a none issue. The atmosphere has changed it is obviously not for the good. Ignorance is the only word to sum up the university's actions along with those that think the newly implemented rules are alright.

    - “Actual Chippewa Fan”…look for a “Real Gametime Atmosphere”

    • Tell me how a drunken tailgating extravaganza furthers the purpose of a higher education institution and maybe I'll change my stance.

      • You should visit Harvard, MIT, Yale, Princeton, Dartmouth, Amherst, etc, and see how hard they party. It puts CMU tailgate to shame. While you're at it, ask them how getting drunk helps an education. You'll get interesting responses :P

    • Real Chippewa Fan says:

      I personally think the police should check the identifications of anyone appearing under 21 and arrest anyone drinking in public at tailgating events. The last time I checked this was illegal; that is, being drunk in public. Let's restore some moral order, self-respect and dignity to CMU. If you want otherwise, go to Wastern.

      • Sweet, you pay for the extra police then nazi.

        If you want some dignity for CMU and all that, then hire in well known profs in certain fields, raise tuition to get state of the art equipment and turn this into a school where anything under 3.7 doesn't get a shot at an interview.

        You're so full of it, stop acting like you didn't underage drink.

  7. I remember my first Chippewa football game. I was so nervous the whole time that I was going to get puked on, I couldn't enjoy myself. Do students REALLY have to be drunk to enjoy a game? I watched a guy crack his head open really good because he couldn't walk.

  8. I know some people may disagree, but I don't care about the new rules. I don't like or dislike them, but I really think that if people want to socialize with friends, drink a non-liver-destroying amount of beer, and enjoy football, they still can. There is nothing preventing them from doing all of the above.

    The pageantry has not been taken away, it's just been relocated. If there are students who do not like watching football or would rather stay home and watch michigan or msu (as misguided as they are), then that is up to them. Personally, I would rather NOT have the students that will only watch CMU under the precondition that they get to drink 100 feet from the gate, at Kelly Shorts. Let them stay home and get sick at their apartment.

    The student section was filled to capacity last Thursday, even without lot 63. In short, have fun, be safe, and find creative locations to enjoy your pre-game festivities. CMU isn't going to run the risk of having any blood on their hands, so people thinking that the university will eventually fold can save their energies for another battle.


  9. I would say that being known for having one of the best tailgating parties in the state (along with MSU no less) is not something to strive for or be proud of. If it was the “epicenter of youth culture” that is nothing to be proud of either. I'm not saying students shouldn't have fun. I'm just saying that to be known only for drinking and partying is not good — at least, not good for the reputation of this university.

  10. This was a liability issue, plain and simple. The university has no choice but to curb the dangerous and uncontrolled binge drinking that permeated the culture of tailgating at CMU. The second to last thing the university wanted was to keep people from enjoying the game, but the very last thing they wanted was a student death or injury on their hands– especially because they would have been, legally and ethically, responsible. If they didn't respond, it would have been their fault when an eighteen or nineteen year old was killed. It's a wonder it didn't happen before they got the rules in place.

    There's nothing in the world to prevent students from getting as irredeemably drunk as they got in the past– but it won't be on CMU land.

  11. I'm not sure who Joe M. is. Is this Chief Yeagley? C'mon buddy you can admit it? Anyway, the tailgate experience at CMU is now an absolute joke. There is no way I would drive 2 1/2 hours to Mt. P for that thing they now call a tailgate. CMU got what they asked for. Now they don't have to worry about “drunk hooligans.” In fact they don't have to worry about anyone. Reap what you sow. BTW, how much money have the local establishments around the stadium lost because of this? I'll let the “Real Fans” have the place. All 50 of them.

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