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The return of tailgating

January 29, 2016

“The atmosphere was awesome. It really made me want to grow up and attend Monmouth College as a kid; it’s really a shame that it’s no longer allowed.”

These are words from Monmouth College student Connor Gillen about what used to be a tradition on the Monmouth College campus: on-campus tailgating.

For the last decade or so Monmouth has had one of the top football teams in the conference, with athletic tradition, facilities and an enthusiastic fan base. Around six years ago Monmouth College had a strong football team, drawing fans to see Fighting Scots.

Fans would show up in the Pattee Hall (previously North Hall) parking lot as early as five in the morning to ensure a guaranteed spot up close near the tennis courts to set up tents, grills and games to be part of the excitement. The fans felt a connection with the school and with the team.

Gillen reminisced about these times, back when his family used to take part. He continued, saying, “Growing up in Monmouth, one of the things I looked forward to most was tailgating for the home games. My parents would always wake up early to make sure we got a spot. I loved getting to the game early in the morning. I remember my friends and I would always start a pickup football game and my parents would grill and make friends with other fans and college students. It really connected the community with the college. My family used to go to every home game and I can honestly say I know of a lot of people who no longer go since the ban.”

The on-campus tailgating was banned before the 2011 season. Some administrators decided they did not like dealing with the clean-up and extra security monitoring so the college decided to move tailgating to an off-campus site at Cavanaugh’s Motors north of the college, next to a cemetery.

Monmouth College star and now Tennessee Titans quarterback Alex Tanney was on the team at the time of the ban, and when asked about this change in policy he said, “Speaking from experience, I can tell you that the game day atmosphere was much more electric when tailgating was allowed on campus. It brought together our students, community and football team while giving us the best home advantage in the conference. Tailgating was moved off campus my senior year and you could feel the difference in energy and see the difference in attendance. I feel certain administrators and faculty members don’t understand how tailgating is a part of college football and the impact it can have on a campus and on a football team.”

There have recently been rumors of lifting the ban; however, no information at this time has been confirmed.

Matt Bertelsen
Contributing Writer

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