With fall semester right around the corner, Rutgers students are ready to finally get back to school and hit the books hard. Although most of us love studying whenever we can, some students are excited to dabble in the social aspect of college. And during fall semester, that means tailgate season.
Since Rutgers is a Big Ten school, they must have awesome tailgates at the parking lots outside High Point Solutions Stadium, right? No, of course not! Our tailgates are actually in a different city than where the game takes place (kind of a cheap shot but Busch is in Piscataway and College Ave is New Brunswick).
Okay, so you have to get on a bus for five minutes. Not the best, but every Rutgers student is used to it. I live on College Ave but all my classes are on Livi, so I take the bus to every class. So what’s the problem with taking it to a football game? Because it just makes no fucking sense, that’s why. They already gave us a taste of what having a student tailgate lot was like with The Alley. It was awesome. The whole student body was in one place tailgating, they passed out waters on your way in to try and keep everyone hydrated, and they shut it down at 11:30 (before a noon game) so that students would head into the game on time for kickoff. They played New Mexico that day, and even though it was a non-conference game, the student section was full.
Obviously, The Alley closed because the RU Screw is real. They expressed concerns that The Alley wasn’t big enough to fit all the students that would come for bigger games (you would’ve needed four Alleys for the Penn St. game). As the tailgates moved back to College Ave for the rest of the season, we were disappointed but hopeful that we would get a student tailgate lot in a new location for the 2017 season.
Fast forward nine months. We’re a little more than a week away from RU’s first home game against Washington, a 7 PM Friday night start. Yet still, we have no word on if there will be a student tailgate lot. Which leads me to believe, we may not be getting one.
But, we did figure out one thing Rutgers IS adding for the home opener.
What the actual fuck? How many more kids did they REALLY think this would draw in? As if thousands of Rutgers students who didn’t plan on going to the game before are now gonna get on a bus and head to High Point Solutions Stadium for the chance to possibly catch HPV out of this jacuzzi? I have no problem with what they’re doing, I have a problem with why they’re doing it.
Basically, Rutgers is acknowledging that the turnout to football games has been exceptionally shitty for a Big Ten school, and is looking to do something about it. But instead of giving us what we really want, a place to tailgate, they hit us with this lame gimmick.
It got them a bunch of press, with the likes of Barstool, Bleacher Report, and Sports Illustrated talking about the jacuzzi. But why not give us a student tailgate lot? There is literally no excuse.
It would obviously be a win for the students, giving them a fun place to tailgate together. It’s also safer for the students, as instead of drunkenly (only if they are 21 obviously) roaming all over College Ave and then getting on a bus to Busch, they can simply walk from the lot to the game. And it would be huge for the football team because the student section would be full every game, guaranteed. It also definitely isn’t a good look to have recruits come and see the student section half empty every game. More fans = more impressed recruits = more of them choosing Rutgers = a better product on the field every year. That’s the most math you will ever see on this blog.
I still go to all the games because I know how much I’d regret it if I missed Rutgers beat, say, Penn State. I freezed my ass off through halftime last year because they still had an outside chance, only for Penn State to score twice in the first minute of the second half. But that’s neither here nor there.
Bottom line, if Rutgers wants to be a real Big Ten school, they need to let us tailgate like a Big Ten school. Even Chris Ash and family acknowledge that much.
So if Chris Ash is on board, and we know Pat “Frat” Hobbs is more than down for us to be cracking Kirklands outside the stadium on game days, then the decision to not have a tailgate lot must be coming from someone higher up. So Robert Barchi, we’re looking at you. You’re clearly not a football guy. Whatever. But if you don’t realize that what you’re doing is an absolute slap in the face to your students, your football team, and your alumni, then wake the hell up. A student tailgate lot would work wonders for this University.
At the end of the day, the tailgates will go on. Game days are still the best days of the year, no matter where the tailgates happen. But The Alley? That was something else. The football team may not be Big Ten ready just yet, although I’m confident they’re gonna be much improved this year. But Rutgers students are Big Ten tailgate material, 100%. New Jersey can drink with the best of them, that I can assure you. So, please, Rutgers, do the right thing and #FreeTheAlley.