UNF adds another ingredient to create a more distinct flavor for fans of the school’s basketball teams: alcohol

Spinnaker

The UNF Athletics Department, Student Government, Student Affairs and Greek Life have collaborated together to produce a new ordinance which will allow tailgating before basketball games at specific locations on campus. The ordinance allows students and fans to tailgate on the UNF Amphitheater before weekday games and at the Dottie Dorrion Fitness Center’s parking lot before weekend games.

“Having a strong atmosphere going into a game is just as important as during the game,” UNF men’s basketball head coach Matt Driscoll said. “The Boathouse has done a good job a bringing people over to this side of campus [closer to the Arena], and tailgating is another great way to bring people into the games.”

Students will be permitted to tailgate starting three hours prior to the first game of the day and must conclude within 30 minutes of the final game’s tip-off. Students or groups will be charged $10 dollars per designated plot area, per game for tailgating. This fee will be used toward providing security and cleanup for the area. For weekday games students will be able to drive their car on the ampitheater grass only to drop off equipment and are not allowed to park on the grass.

Anyone consuming alcohol must have proof, a valid ID, that they are 21 years old or older, and students must have their UNF Osprey 1 Card. Only beer and wine is permitted and must stay within the designated tailgating area and no hard liquor is allowed. Students or groups that are interested in procuring a designated plot must pick up and fill out a tailgate form at the Student Life office. Any tailgating event with less than five groups signed up will be canceled.

The idea is something that has been talked about for years but didn’t really start falling into place until this August, former SG member Josh Baker said.

Baker and Brandon Alanis, the assistant director of Club Alliance, began the push for the ordinance by researching other schools’ policies on tailgating specifically with an emphasis toward basketball programs and developing a proposal which they pitched to various campus authorities beginning with Everrett Malcolm, the associated vice president for Student Affairs. The ordinance then went through the general council to cover the logistics and fill in the fine print.

“Our collective hope is that tailgating on UNF campus will strengthen school spirit, enhance camaraderie and provide a venue for celebrating all our athletic successes in years to come,” Everrett said.

One main group of people to which the athletics department looks to reach out with the tailgating initiative is the Greeks. The Greeks make up close to 10 percent of students on campus which is the biggest group of students on campus. The athletics department hopes students will see them having a good time supporting their school and will want to become a part of it, Baker said.

A major concern of the ordinance was to give students a place where they could safely and legally enjoy themselves and support their team, said Student Government President John Barnes. Barnes said that he’s students tailgating before from of the back of their trucks while drinking, and that it’s important for students to be able to do that without breaking the law. To enforce the school’s policies UNF will have the events patrolled in order to insure safety.

The athletic department is hoping that tailgating will open the door to even more possibilities for students to support the Ospreys, UNF Athletic Director Lee Moon said.

“Tailgating is just the first step in building a Division-I basketball experience,” Moon said. “Hopefully some day we’ll have people camping outside to see the games.”

UNF will open their home schedule with the women taking on Flagler College on Oct. 31 at 7 p.m. in an exhibition match, and the men taking on Ave Maria Nov. 5 at 7 p.m. in an exhibition match.