It will cost more for Longhorn fans to enjoy the pre-football game sacraments of beer and grilled food if a Parking and Transportation Services proposal on tailgating passes.
The University will begin charging for reserved tailgating spots in Centennial Park next football season pending approval of a the policy. Centennial Park is next to the University’s tennis courts on Trinity Street, across Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard from the main part of campus.
PTS events manager Linsey Duett said the UT Police Department, the athletic department and PTS came up with the proposed regulations. She said the department has a price range in mind but would not release the proposed range since the policy is not official. The departments are expected to finalize the policy by next week, she said.
“There were people breaking the rules set out by the Board of Regents, and we want to get a handle on that,” Duett said.
She said the departments involved had concerns about businesses advertising and passing out drinks at the increasingly popular tailgating spot. The University prohibits both activities on its property.
She said, in years past, people have taped off spots up to a week in advance of home games, but UT staff has to clear the markings out for landscaping. Tailgaters also left behind stakes, which are prohibited on all University property. The department expects the new rules to bring more structure and order to the park before games.
President of the Delta Sigma Phi fraternity Isaac Gonzalez said his organization hosts tailgate parties at the park every year. The mechanical engineering senior said fraternity members already have to stretch to pay dues, and the cost of a spot to tailgate will be one more expense they have to absorb.
“We are still going to tailgate there,” Gonzalez said. “It’s too important to just stop, but it’s definitely a bummer.”
For himself and many students, he said tailgates have become just as important as the sport that inspires them.
“It’s just as big a tradition as Texas football itself,” he said. “People look forward to opening game all year, but it’s also the tailgate. It’s definitely huge.”