What do SEC schools have against tailgating, anyway?

I posted yesterday about the unique social atmosphere that’s at the heart of the college football experience.  Yet, between the hostility towards tailgating that’s been a hallmark at Georgia since the Michael Adams days and the effort at many conference schools to weaponize the revenue stream from fans who only want to get together to experience Saturdays in the fall, it’s like conference schools don’t give a rat’s ass about the average fan’s enjoyment.

It’s incredibly short-sighted.  The more you treat college football like any other sport, the less incentive we have to keep showing up as we have done historically.  Yet, you know one day AD’s are gonna wake up and wonder where everyone went.

59 Comments

Filed under It's Just Bidness, SEC Football

59 responses to “What do SEC schools have against tailgating, anyway?

  1. TomReagan

    “The more you treat college football like any other sport, the less incentive we have to keep showing up as we have done historically.”

    That says it all.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. The ONLY way I will return to watch games at Sanford Stadium is if they return the stadium to looking and sounding like this: (check out the panoramic shot to begin the film)

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    • rugbydawg79

      Classic

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    • Tony Barnfart

      Love it. My personal favorite stage of the stadium is post-bridge / pre-upper deck. I think there was maybe only a 3yr window in the early 60s with that setup.

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      • Athens Dog

        My parents tickets were on the alumni side. But we always walked to the top of the steps over by the student section to watch the final minutes. As soon as it was 0:00 we would sprint back to the car and beat traffic back to Washington Ga. Those are good memories

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    • Russ

      How did the fans know when to cheer? There wasn’t any piped in music?

      I loved that configuration of the stadium. Loonies on the tracks, people relaxing on the grass banks, you could actually hear the band. True college football experience.

      It’s amazing to me how short sighted the ADs are. They are swimming in Mickey’s money, yet that’s not enough. They have to monetize every last thing. When the bubble bursts, it will be sad but I guess we will move on to something else. I’ll sure miss it.

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    • chopdawg

      I wuz there! Freshman year. We’d blown out everybody we’d played, except for a loss in Jackson to Mississippi. Fans were fired up that day!–alas, we didn’t win another game that entire season, I think Tennessee won the SEC.

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    • PTC DAWG

      That was my first game in Athens…I was 6. There is a game program somewhere in my house. 🙂

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    • BMan

      You mean the Tennessee band knew a song other than Rocky Top? They played something different when the team took the field.
      The look of both teams in home uniforms was pretty cool.
      That’s the stadium configuration of my childhood, so naturally it will always be my favorite. I always loved the grass banks.
      I didn’t realize Jim Cheney was coaching our goal line offense back then ( I kid, I kid).

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  3. “It’s like the conference schools don’t give a rat’s ass about the average fan’s enjoyment.”

    I’ve been saying it for years now. We aren’t seen by the UGAAA as customers, patrons, fans, or alumni. We’re seen now as nothing but wallets where they want to extract as much as possible with giving the least amount of service possible. All the while they cash the checks from the SEC through CBS and Mickey Mouse.

    One day (not too long from now) they will kill the goose that laid the golden egg and will wonder what happened.

    It’s a future Harvard Business School case for sure.

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    • It goes back a long ways. If you were a UGA student, do you remember those enormous lines at Stegeman Coliseum to get student tickets? The ticket office had those elderly women who took forever to process your ID and issue the tickets. By the 1990s, the athletic department could easily have computerized the process and eliminated the lines/elderly women. I realized, “The inconvenience is the point.”

      Liked by 1 person

      • Gaskilldawg

        In the days before electronic data processing in the ticket office in my years of the 1972-1978 football seasons it wasn’t bad. We bought student ticket coupon books at a ticket window at the Coliseum early in the Fall quarter. The coupon book and 1 coupon for each game and the coupon was redeemable for 1 ticket for that game. The coupon was redeemable during specified hours on, if I remember correctly, the Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of that game. You showed the lady your Student ID and gave her your coupon and she gave you a ticket. A group could get seats together at a different window by a person presenting IDs from the group and coupons from the group. That transaction took longer because of the need to show multiple IDs and redeem multiple coupons at once.

        Sometimes when I went to redeem my coupon and get my ticket it would take a minute or two. Sometimes I would go when it seemed everyone else was going and the line to get to the window would be long.
        The actual transaction, though, was quick and efficient and I never had a complaint.

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        • Silver Creek Dawg

          In the early 90s, you had two options for student season tickets- the coupons as you described above (popular with the Greeks as it allowed for bloc seating) or an actual season ticket. Coupons meant you may not sit in the same section/row/seat every game. Season ticket did.

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          • In the early 2000’s we still had paper tickets. Thankfully they had done away with the coupons and just assigned general seating for all student sections. The demand was much higher though, so underclassmen often didn’t get full season ticket packages. At least then it was easier to get another student ticket because they were paper. Digital tickets attached to student ID’s are part of the problem (In my opinion) of lax student attendance. No one wants to give a stranger their ID.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Tony Barnfart

              I remember. I got ZERO tickets my freshman year and it was a scramble every week. Not sure exactly what they do now, but I think they still operate at a shortage right ? I would think they could devise a system that incentivized getting tix into the hands of students who want to go but without scalping amongst students (I don’t think mere luck of the draw should entitle you to get discounted tix and then gauge your fellow students who weren’t as fortunate in a computer selection). Can students “sell” an individual digital ticket back to the UGAAA that can go into a pool to be bought by students who missed the draw ?

              That would be the way to do it—have 1 means of offloading tickets, back to the house, so more hardcore students who missed the draw can get in at a reasonable price and without hustling around.

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              • MGW

                Why shouldn’t students be able to scalp tickets they paid for?

                There were never empty seats at big games with paper tickets. Gotta get this control stuff out of our heads. Give them tickets, let them do whatever they want with them. There will be an ass in a seat. It’s probably going to be a student or a friend of a student. Vast majority of them will be rooting for the home team. That’s your system. Same as any other ticket.

                Liked by 1 person

                • Tony Barnfart

                  “Paid for” is a generous term considering several sections of student seating are offered at a 92%! discount from what they cost to the general public when you include the required annual donation. The point is not to police making a buck, but to get students who actually want to attend (but didn’t get tickets in the lottery) in the stadium at or near the price any other student gets in the stadium.

                  If there aren’t enough students in the waiting pool to fill the seats for the tix given up by other students by a certain cutoff time, flip them into hard tickets available to the general public. Or Hartman or Magill members.

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      • Paul

        That’s one of the reasons why we sat on the tracks.

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      • It was the exact same during my time from 2002-2007. Streaming Netflix would be a thing less than a year after I finished grad school, but the UGAAD didn’t care to invest the incredibly low cost to computerize the process to schedule handing out fucking tickets to students. Best decision I’ve made in the last decade (other than marrying Mrs. AuditDawg) was to give up the season tickets. If you don’t live in Athens or in the surrounding area, the whole gameday experience just isn’t worth the hassle to me anymore.

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        • Audit, I’ll admit if I gave up my season tickets, I probably wouldn’t care anymore. I doubt I would have the same passion for the sport.

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          • Paul

            eethomaswfnc we gave up our season tickets a few years ago. We still love to watch our Dawgs. But I will admit there are weekends when we’re playing, say Austin Peay, when we don’t bother to even watch and we don’t really miss it.

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            • It would probably go to a passing interest. If there’s nothing better to do on a fall Saturday, I would sit down and watch a game. If there is, it probably becomes DVR it and watch it in an hour rather than an entire afternoon affair.

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              • Russ

                That’s where I am now. I can’t make it to the games (too far) and if we’re playing some cupcake, I’ll just as often DVR the game and then zip through it.

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  4. dawgtired

    “It’s incredibly short-sighted.”
    I really believe this is the issue. They are looking so hard at every situation as to how they can make money from it, that they are completely blind to treating the fan as a customer. As you’ve said, we are wallets. More and more I’m satisfied with watching the games on a big screen TV, somewhere, with AC, surrounded by friends.

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    • MGW

      More than a customer, even; these are the people who support your university. Or used to. Personally, I didn’t go to Georgia. The tailgate and the whole atmosphere, camaraderie, etc. was what made me give a damn about the school beyond just football.

      After the last 10 years or so? Not as much, and I’m not alone. Just feels a lot more like the team I picked to follow. Kind of like if you thought someone was a good friend, but over time or by some happenstance you come to realize you were never really more than just an acquaintance to them. There’s no animosity, but it’s dang sure a different relationship now.

      It used to feel like Georgia was “the state’s” team. Now it feels a lot more like it’s a team that belongs to only the most wealthy fans, alums, and corporations, and the rest of us are allowed to watch if we want.

      And to the alums: don’t think for a second that anyone in the athletic association gives a damn whether not you went to the school if there’s a higher bidder for your seats. They’d bump your ass if Steve GD Spurrier decided he wanted to donate one more penny than you. Never forget that.

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  5. Gaskilldawg

    I have said many times that the folks who get paid to go to the games (looking at you, McGarity and company) don’t understand the folks who pay to go to the games.

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  6. 3rdandGrantham

    We now have tailgating services companies? Good hell – can you get any more rediculous than that? And talk about lame – I can envision cheesy canopy setups with company logos (instead of the typical UGA variety you see), complete with coke, chips, no alcohol, and bad food.

    Thanks, but I’ll stick to my 75 inch surround sound setup, with a BGE going and cooler of drinks next to it, along with perfect weather, no bathroom lines, no traffic, and no lardass next to me with his/her fat pressed up against me for 3+ hours, (all while screaming for Bobo to ‘run the damn ball.’)

    Oh, and no cost to boot.

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    • The Bulldog Tailgate Club is pretty darn good. They set it up and take it down. You can bring anything you want or get it catered. Everything is Georgia branded and no corporate logos or opposing school logos are allowed. It’s expensive, but it’s on prime tailgating real estate (Reed quad) and worth it.

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      • Tony Barnfart

        My wishes:
        1. that Athens could get better free OTA TV so you can use a simple TV antenna to pick up games on broadcast.
        2. that UGA would allow a compromise on the north campus TV restriction. Hell, I love my 19inch Samsung for tailgating, I don’t have to have a monstrosity. I’m fine on the ban on amplified music, grills, generators, kegs, beer pong bans…….but let us have <30 inch TVs powered by those silent, non-polluting portable power banks. Make a simple trash-on-the-ground-in your vicinity=immediate alcohol confiscation policy. I’ve personally witnessed campus cops in oxford make miscreants personally open and pour out onto the ground every single beer in the offending tent’s cooler. Adds enormous self-policing / peer pressure to the group equation.

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        • Normaltown Mike

          I hate to say it but I think that it would improve things if they gave exclusive tailgating privileges to another company for a quad on north campus or Herty Field. Maybe try a different model than Bulldog…people have the ability to enter the Herty parking area to unload and load for a set time and set up their own 15X15 by the law school. Something to approximate the Grove maybe but money to make sure it’s not a shit-show.

          The Adams decisions of early 2K’s pretty well ruined the old system. Since then, I’ve tailgated in lots at the Classic Center, a parking lot downtown, the railroad tracks, and the Holiday Inn. None of these places feel like campus to me.

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  7. Mark

    Great clip Admiral but I thought we opened in UTs new turf in 1969. However we do have the 100 year logo in the end zone. Anyone know for sure?

    Thanks

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    • Gaskilldawg

      No. We opened at UT in 1968. We played UT in Athens in 1969. The “100” logos were due to the fact that the NCAA in 1969 celebrated the 100th anniversary of the 1869 Rutgers v. Princeton game, believed to be the first college football game. All schools incorporated the 100 logo somewhere on fields, boards or uniforms.

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  8. JCDawg83

    NASCAR thinks they screwed up a good thing. College football say “hold my beer”.

    Liked by 3 people

    • 79Dawg

      Professional golf: pretty much circling the toilet bowl….

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      • Been to Augusta National? It’s all about the patron experience and the event. There’s a reason it’s one of the toughest tickets in sports.

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        • 79Dawg

          Seen the attendance or tv ratings for the other 99%? Tickets to the PGA Championship were going for $5 a pop in May, tv ratings this year have routinely been in the 1s…

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  9. Athens Dog

    Started tailgating with my parents in the early 60’s as a child. Started in earnest when i was a Sigma Chi from 75-79. Continued tailgating at Sigma Chi house at 590 S. Lumpkin until we were forced to sell to the Business School. Have tailgated at Boggs since. This is the last year. The cost is excessive and they simply make it difficult. I get harassed about some small issue on every Saturday. This is my last year. Next year tailgate with be in my front yard in five points.
    Also reducing tickets from 4 – 2. My big screens are looking better and better

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    • ilini84

      I worked an extra year to get my f/s tickets for this season then that is it for me. I’ve only been here since 85 but I’m going to miss it. I guess I’ll just go to the secondary market for games I really want to go to. Not being a drinker and living in walking distance has made me not really care about tailgating anyway.

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      • stoopnagle

        You can keep getting F/S tickets in retirement, you know?

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        • illini84

          Nope, I’m in a different situation. It’s been a gift to have had them for 20 years but they make it clear my organization doesn’t get them in retirement. In fact they no longer extend them to us at all and have not for about 10 years.

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  10. Some people (the AD’S and school admin) dont know when they have it good.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. stoopnagle

    If you have read “Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer” by Warren St. John, you owe it to yourself to do so. It’s a wonderful view of tailgating and fandom in college football that’s at parts disturbing and fun.

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  12. Texas Dawg

    It seems that they are working overtime to take all the fun out of Saturdays for the average fan. My dad took to my first UGA game at Sanford stadium in 1973, the 7-7 tie with Pittsburgh. They had a fairly decent tailback making his collegiate debut that day by the name of Tony Dorsett . I was hooked and have bled red and black ever since. While matriculating there during the Herschel glory days, nothing was better then getting together with friends in the parking lot with cold fried chicken, biscuits, and a cooler of cold beer. We would go to the came expecting a win then head out to the bars after the game. The bonding with the friends before and after the game was just as important as the game. That as much as the game what bonded me to Athens, UGA, the DAWGS and the people we spent time with. Sadly, the students that are coming through there these days probably are not going to have those same fond memories. Their love of all things DAWGS will be be much easier to kill off than those of us who had YEARS of good times to keep the memories rolling.

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  13. MGW

    Tailgating and the cost to enter the stadium should be looked at from a break-even perspective, maybe even a loss leader for certain games. That’s the only way to preserve your real money maker which is television. The effort to squeeze every single dime out of every last corner of college football is crushing the soul of the sport.

    I still don’t understand it. If these schools were milking every last dollar today to beef up the school’s endowment, to make grants, to give scholarships, sure, I could get behind that. But it’s just a cash grab to dump more money into “facilities” and “suites” and whatnot to try to grab more cash to do the same thing all over again until the well dries up, which it will.

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    • Russ

      Exactly this. If a significant part of the “profits” were used to improve the university, then I wouldn’t mind so much, but this is occurring while tuition costs are rising out of control.

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  14. E.R.

    I have been to Tuscaloosa twice and their tailgate atmosphere sucks. They are more concerned with constructing Bear Bryant/yellow hammer shrines than serving the food and drink.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. The Georgia Way

    We took control of the parking facilities so no one who contributes less than you will be able to take your space within five hours of kickoff.

    Rest assured, it’s piece of mind and one less thing to worry about on gameday.

    #GAMEDAYGAMEPLAN #CLEANUPAFTERYOURSELF #COMMITTOTHEG

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  16. siskey

    When did the University and ACCPD crack down on parking on the streets near the stadium? My first game was the season opener in 1991 against Western Carolina (Zeir’s debut) and I remember people parking on Lumpkin and Jackson Street.

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  17. whb209

    I do believe that the 1969 Tenn. game was the last time umbrellas were allowed in the stadium. I Also believe that in 1969 students did not get tickets. You had to show up very early with a student ID then you scrambled for a seat in the student section.

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