Football tailgating rules to change in response to focus groups

By: Fernando Marca/Staff Writer


The University has updated and revamped its tailgating experience by changing rules and creating designated drinking zones for the upcoming Fall 2018 Football season.

In April  2018, the University began to review its current tailgating policies with the intention of bettering tailgates, according to Anthony DeSantis, assistant vice president for Student Affairs. They started by holding a Student Tailgate Focus Group in order to gain some perspective on how students currently felt about tailgating. With this feedback in mind, FIU set out to make their changes.

Along with increasing accountability and changing the new tailgate lots to Lots 4 and 5 to improve group placement, DeSantis said he has worked to include a more friendly environment. There will now be a new “alcohol free zone,” where students can come experience tailgating without unwanted exposure to alcohol.

The “alcohol free zone” will have food and games, as well as serving as ground zero for the new themed tailgates that FIU has planned. These themes will be carried out both at games and tailgates, kicking off with Freshman Frenzy and finishing with Senior Salute, according to DeSantis.

Groups of 10 or more must now register online with Parking and Transportation to reserve private space. Tents of 10 feet by 10 feet will be permitted for every space assigned, provided that there is one parking space in between tents. These groups will be randomly assigned different spaces every tailgate to have different groups interacting with each other every time.

The tailgate lot will open depending on the game time, but all tailgates will end 45 minutes before the game. The FIU Marching Band will begin leading students and fans alike into the stadium 1 and ½ half hours before the game, which also serves as kind of 45 minute warning to tailgaters that they should begin cleaning up.

Tailgates will also feature water stations and food trucks to help students remain hydrated and safe throughout the event. While the food trucks close 45 minutes before the game, the water stations will remain running for any students that may need it. These additions were heavily advocated by the student focus group and are just one example of how FIU has listened, according to DeSantis.

“Of the 22 students part of the focus group, they came up with 13 tailgating recommendations that they all agreed with. The biggest concerns were more water stations and food, so we made that our priority,” DeSantis said.

DeSantis has also worked with the University’s Police Department and the Emergency Response Center to create a “Student Safety Zone” where students can go seek medical attention or assistance depending on the situation.

The Safety Zone will be located in front of the Blue Garage on the west side of Lot 4, with FIUPD in front of the pond behind the Frost Museum and to the east of the Residence Halls. After overseeing FIU’s tailgate reformation since the beginning, DeSantis has high hopes for this upcoming year.

“These new rules and changes will ensure that tailgates are more inclusive, fun and safe for all students,” DeSantis said. “I am excited and I am hopeful for this new season to start the traditions, so students can live and breathe FIU.”

With these new updates to the Tailgate Policy, DeSantis hopes more students will show up to tailgates, and then for tailgaters to go watch the football game.

“I want students to be part of this culture shift, to be part of this experience… to take pride in our athletics, take pride in our FIU letters, and come support our athletes while having fun at the same time,” DeSantis said.

The first football game is at 7 p.m. on Saturday,
Sept. 1, against Indiana. Tailgating will begin at 1 p.m. and is open to all students. For more information on the new tailgating policies, students can visit


Featured image courtesy of External Relations

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