Staff Editorial: Policy opens doors

NW Staff

This Saturday’s homecoming football game will mark the first time in recent memory that Wildcat sports fans will have access to a typical collegiate pre-game atmosphere.

Last month NMU approved a new tailgating procedure that gives fans the ability to consume alcohol in designated areas. The move should prove to be a positive step for the university in many regards.

The trouble with NMU’s previous alcohol-free stance on tailgating was that many fans, both home and away, were unsure of the actual policy and assumed that tailgating meant alcohol use. Realizing that the rules would have to be clearly displayed and more strictly enforced if the old policy continued, NMU decided to allow drinking in parking lots 55 and 58, near the Berry Events Center and the Superior Dome, prior to football and hockey games.

The move fits with NMU’s push to get more students to turn out to sporting events – including the recent nationally televised Wildcat football game. Still, fans straggle in late to the events, if at all, and for many students, the games take a back seat to Friday nights at the bar or the movies. The fact that tailgating is allowed from three hours prior to the event’s start time should get people to their seats for the start of the game.

While alcohol at the pre-game celebration is common at college sporting events, it is a bit sad that the university has to take such a step to draw more fan support.

But facts are facts. Marquette is a college town and if there is one thing that will create a sense of community and draw increased crowds to sporting events, it’s alcohol.

And for those students and community members that don’t want to drink or be around drinking, there are nine other parking lots in the immediate area available for tailgating.

This will provide the best of both worlds, allowing the college crowd to enjoy the pre-game festivities while still maintaining a family atmosphere at NMU sporting events.

The limited drinking area – where Public Safety officers will be performing random ID checks – also serves another purpose: It will contain the drinking crowd in two parking lots. Rather than worry about people sneaking alcohol into their tailgate parties, the cops can focus on keeping the peace in those two lots.

The ultimate hope should be that students readily go to NMU sporting events solely for the teams, and without the lure of beer. But until that time, show up a couple hours early. And drink up.