MU tries again to offer student tailgating

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Student leaders at the University of Missouri-Columbia hope the latest effort to offer their classmates a spot to tailgate will go over better than its predecessor.

The Columbia Daily Tribune (http://bit.ly/rgVnBk) reported that the latest effort will be called The End Zone. It will be in the same lot where the school last year opened an unpopular tailgating spot called The Jungle.

“Since we didn’t have much success last year, we felt it was time to rebrand and change the name and feel — just because people were used to The Jungle being a kind of joke,” said Eric Woods, president of the Missouri Students Association.

Students said part of the problem were the rules. No vehicles were allowed and student organizations had to reserve spaces ahead of time. Plus, walk-in tailgaters weren’t allowed.

“We had policies in place in the beginning that were not the most friendly or conducive to get students there,” Woods said.

Like last year, hard alcohol and glass bottles won’t be allowed, but beer in cans is OK. Woods says underage students shouldn’t drink, but officers won’t be checking everyone’s IDs.

Students can reserve a spot ahead of time, but, starting with the first home game Sept. 3, that won’t be a requirement.

The school also wants to get out the word that family members are welcome.

“That was allowed last time, but it wasn’t communicated well,” Woods said. “If you don’t want to take Mom and Dad to Lot X, where they’re going to be crawled on top of or crammed into a spot, this is a good alternative.”

For people who don’t spend $5 to park a vehicle, tables and chairs will be set up. Food also will be provided during the first several tailgates.

MU Police Capt. Brian Weimer said fights, alcohol-related injuries and other problems have decreased significantly since Reactor Field closed to tailgaters. He noted that there weren’t many problems at the student space last year.

“It’s not that we’re against tailgating,” Weimer said. “Obviously, we want everyone to be safe and have a good time, and, of course, that includes enforcing the law.”

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