South Dakota State University Takes Stance Against Drinking Before Games, But is It the Right Stance? [OPINION]
Last week I wrote an article about what South Dakota State needs to do to compete with North Dakota State. They obviously misunderstood my point on filling empty seats in their new stadium. Last weekend's game had an attendance of 14,255 after having 15,171 and 16,887 the previous games.
This year during home game tailgates University Police and the Brookings Police Department have cracked down on underage drinking. You now need a wristband to consume alcohol in the tailgate areas if you're a student. If you don't have one, you're escorted out of the tailgate area... even if you're 21, because they assume you gave yours away to a minor.
They might as well put up a sign that says "Hey freshman, sophomores and half the junior class - stay at home and don't come to the tailgate."
I am not saying that underage drinking is okay. I am not condoning underage drinking, nor am I encouraging excessive drinking.
But let's be honest: drinking is a part of college. Most college students enjoy going to tailgates and consuming alcohol before the big game. It's part of the college experience. If you don't agree then I'd suggest you come out from under your rock.
On Saturday, SDSU's student tailgate reminded me of what Howard Wood Field looked like before a high school game. Not the President's Bowl, because those student tailgates outshined this one, but regular Friday/Saturday match-ups.
SDSU has made a point this year of catching underage students drinking in the tailgate area and people handing out alcohol to minors. The hope has been to push students out of the tailgate area so that alumni and parents can have their space behind the stadium.
It's a smart move from a business standpoint, because they are welcoming the adults that will come and buy season tickets or buy single tickets to fill seats, not the students who get in for free. However, students are not happy and a lot have decided to not attend games now.
Schools across the nation have insane tailgates before football games, it's a part of what makes gameday fun. Granted, there will always be knuckleheads that take things too far, but is that worth putting up with for more support from your student population?
A couple hundred students that decide to not show up can definitely make a difference in the crowd for a stadium that size. It was noticeable on Saturday and will continue to be if this doesn't change.
It's a very bad move on SDSU's part after putting so much time and effort into a new stadium. A stadium that once again, hasn't even sold out yet. Not only that, but they're taking away students' sense of pride and support for their school's team.
This could possibly decided whether or not a student decides to attend SDSU or another school.