Tailgating returns to much fanfare
As the Central Michigan University football season began Thursday against Southeast Missouri State, so did the tailgating by students and non-students alike.
This year, alcohol limits, which affected previous tailgate outings of years past, have been eliminated. This change has led to different reactions from students about their feelings toward the pre-game experience.
Clay McGillvary, a Mount Pleasant junior, said he thinks he'll attend more tailgating sessions due to the rule changes.
"I'm here," he said. "I wasn't here last year, mainly because of the alcohol rules."
He said the football game attendance and tailgating attendance go hand-in-hand.
Senior Jessi Kraai said she attended the tailgating sessions last year regardless of how many people were there.
"We had a good group of people," the Monague native said. "We would go no matter what."
CMU Police Lt. Larry Klaus said because the limits on alcohol are lifted, the police are being more careful but still allowing tailgaters to have a good time.
Students are not allowed to have kegs or participate in drinking games but can have as many six-packs of beer as they like, as well as liquor.
"We're moderating people's consumption," he said. "We're looking for people disrupting and if people are underage."
He said last year when the football game started, the students would have to clear the lots. This year it's a bit different. Students can tailgate in the lots around the football stadium south of Broomfield Road. He said the crowds have been safe, respectful and well-behaved.
"Party responsibly," he said. "Cheer on the team responsibly."
Klaus said two MIPs were handed out since tailgating began at 3 p.m. but before tailgating was officially over.
Mount Pleasant junior Abby Olson said the rules regarding the tailgating affected the overall tailgating experience.
"A year ago, they had a lot of rules," Olson said. "No one came to the games."
She said the rules being lifted is a good thing for the games and their accompanying activities.
"I think it's a good idea they lifted the rules," she said. "Having it here at the stadium in a controlled setting was a good idea."
Alex Tasker, a freshman from Almont, thinks the tailgating rules will help game attendance.
"People wouldn't want to go to the games because they'd be far away on Main Street before it. It's a lot easier to tailgate," he said.
He said he will now attend future tailgates because of the newer, relaxed rules.
"I'll be at the other tailgates too," he said. "With the new rules, it's just a better experience."
Alpena sophomore Abbie Krawczak said she comes to the tailgates to socialize and meet people.
"I like to hang out with everybody," Krawczak said. "They're having a good time."
The athletics department was also giving away the remaining 4,500 tickets for the Sept. 8 game at Kelly/Shorts Stadium against the Michigan State Spartans.
"I got my tickets here," Romeo junior Adam Schwark said. "It was a short wait."
The lines were much shorter than at MAINstage last week, which wrapped around the Student Activity Center and across campus. About 5,500 tickets were disbursed, according to athletics department officials.
Levering senior Jake Schmalzried said he picked up his ticket here and was just happy to have one, no matter where he got it.
"Still better than to be safe than sorry," he said. "It's a huge deal"