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Taking the Fun Out of Tailgating

I'm sure you see it all the time at work. The company offers a benefit until one person abuses it. Then it gets taken away from everyone.

For those of you planning on attending the game this weekend, be advised: Penn State is instituting some new rules for tailgaters. Starting this Saturday, drinking will be banned outside of Beaver Stadium during the game.

"State College has a big drinking problem, and we can't do a lot to influence five-cent beer specials in town," university spokesman Bill Mahon said. "But there are areas we can influence, and this is something we can implement."

"We hope that we can at least shut down some of these big parties -- and even some small parties -- where people would continue to drink throughout the game," said Tyrone Parham, the assistant director of police operations. "It's really just an overall, better-fan-behavior attitude that we're trying to instill in the parking lots and inside the stadium."

Part of me wonders if the university is trying to shake the image of a party school. It will be interesting to see how far the university takes this. Black Shoe Diaries is taking a "wait and see" approach to this, but my first instinct is to say I don't like it. Am I going to get fined if I'm sitting around my vehicle eating a sandwich and kicking back a beer? Are they going to raid motorhomes to make sure nobody is sipping a cabernet while they watch the game on television?

The University claims they are taking a "common sense" approach to enforcing this new rule, which means it's up to the officer on duty to decide.

Mostly this is supposed to be directed at the people who show up for the party with no intention of going to the game. But where is the harm in some people playing some music and having a good time in the parking lot? Aren't there some rules on the books already that we can enforce? If people are leaving a lot of trash lay around, fine them for littering. I don't think it's unreasonable to ask people to use the dumpsters or take their trash home with them. If someone is so visibly drunk they are puking in the street and falling over, fine them and remove them from the premises.

Where does it go from here? No more loud music? No more hard liquor? Are they going to limit the number of people that can stand around a vehicle? We'll have to wait and see. But I don't like the fact that I have to think twice about leaving the stadium if the game is a blowout in the second half.