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Morning Sun
  • OUR VIEW: Moderation needed from alcohol policy and from tailgaters

  • Last weekend was the Hall of Fame game at Pittsburg State’s home football game. But although some of the institution’s finest were honored, the weekend will likely be remembered more for a different reason.



    A brawl broke out in the brown parking lot. Here are the details:

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  • Last weekend was the Hall of Fame game at Pittsburg State’s home football game. But although some of the institution’s finest were honored, the weekend will likely be remembered more for a different reason.
    A brawl broke out in the brown parking lot. Here are the details:
    • A fight occurred.
    • “There were a large number of people, many of whom were intoxicated, in the area at the time,” according to PSU police director Mike McCracken.
    • No arrests were made.
    • Although no arrests were made, PSU president Steve Scott said, “It is simply unacceptable.”
    • The university is going to change its tailgating policies in some way because of this incident.
    • Those changes will be announced this week.
    We find no reason to disagree with Scott’s statement that a fight of this kind is unacceptable. It’s the home opener, it’s on MIAA TV, and it’s the No. 1-ranked team in Division II. The game drew 10,754, the second-best home-game attendance since 1961. To have an event like that happen when so many people are around is certainly unacceptable.
    We also agree that something must be done because of the incident.
    For policymakers, the easy, gut-reaction thing would be to come down with a hammer: No alcohol at PSU tailgates.
    That would be about as strong of a message that Pittsburg State does not want that type of behavior in its tailgating.
    It would certainly be a timely move to ban alcohol from tailgating.
    However, we don’t believe that is necessary. We believe moderation is necessary.
    How does that work? Let’s start with the tailgaters themselves. Most of the time, Pittsburg State tailgates are wonderful times. That’s not just because of the policies currently in place, but because the tailgaters themselves have made the atmosphere open and inviting.
    Tailgating is a community event, a place to meet up even if not attending the game, and a time to show the team (and the opposing team) just how much support this city has for its Gorillas.
    In fact, it’s because of this atmosphere, which we would point out has been under the current policies, that Pittsburg State was chosen one of the top 20 atmospheres for college football by the Bleacher Report in 2011.
    Tailgaters must know that alcohol should be consumed in moderation. The numerous intoxicated people did not make the situation any better. Perhaps a few less clouded minds could have calmed the incident.
    If tailgaters don’t exhibit moderation, then another incident like this will occur. And if another incident occurs, it would be the start of a trend rather than a single incident. And in that case, PSU policymakers might be justified in being incredibly restrictive with its alcohol and tailgating policy.
    Page 2 of 2 - But the call for moderation also extends to the PSU policymakers: They shouldn’t overreact. The tailgating is, as identified, an essential part of the game day experience. And the game day experience is an essential part of Pittsburg State.
    The university has said it will look at other programs’ policies before altering its own.
    We suggest the university look at a modified version of the Western Michigan tailgating policy.
    Western Michigan limits tailgating to 2 1/2 hours before the start of a game, among other rules.
    One of the problems, as we have heard throughout the community this week, has been revelers arriving before the game at 6 or 7 a.m. and consuming alcohol until the start of the game, be it noon, 2 p.m. or 7 p.m.
    If the problem is early and all-day drinkers, then we suggest limiting the tailgate period to three hours, which is still plenty of time to enjoy the tailgate experience. Further, if it’s an evening game, then open the tailgate at noon. No matter what, add a greater law enforcement presence to the mix.
    It will be hard to eradicate those that drink all day before arriving at the tailgate, even with a tailgate time restriction. But it’s the moderate move to make.
    Not all tailgaters drink, and not all drinkers cause problems.
    But this incident demands that changes are made. We suggest that the powers that be, like those that consume alcohol at tailgates, don’t go overboard, and take a moderate approach instead.
    — For the Morning Sun

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