Duke Administration Cancels Tailgate: Maybe Students Will Go To Games Now

Mike KlineAnalyst INovember 9, 2010

Duke students celebrate after a victory in Wallace Wade Stadium.
Duke students celebrate after a victory in Wallace Wade Stadium.Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Duke University Administration has canceled the school's on campus tailgate event that precedes Duke home football games.

The decision was made when a student was found passed out in a porta-potty this past Saturday. The University called the event an "embarassement."

This occurring just a few weeks removed from another Duke student who was found dead after a fall.

You can't really blame the university as it looks to avoid another tragedy, or at the very least another embarrassing situation.

The event was conceptualized to draw a student crowd to get together, celebrate and then go to the football game.

More often than not, the students were too imbibed by the time the game would start that most never made it.

Anyone who has been to a Duke home football game will notice the student section is typically sparsely populated. The only game this season where the students showed up in respectable numbers was the Alabama game.

Not being a student, it is easy to judge the reasons why the students don't show up. Perhaps it is because the interest in football is just not there. The Blue Devils are currently 3-6 (1-4 ACC). They have struggled in the third year under coach David Cutcliffe and it is typical for non-winning programs to struggle with attendance.

Still the team is making clear improvements and strides to becoming a winning program. Yet the students have rarely come out in force to support the team. Granted, Wallace Wade is no Cameron Indoor Stadium, it is still a beautiful venue for football.

Some students on message boards have said they simply aren't interested in football, which is fair enough. But you have to wonder how many more would come if they weren't preoccupied by the drinking and festivities that were a part of Tailgate.

The Duke students' version of Tailgate isn't what many think of. There aren't kids cooking food, drinking a few beers before going over to the stadium. Many times there was loud music, heavy drinking and probably not enough eating to absorb the quantities of alcohol being consumed.

There were moon bounces. Yes I said moon bounces. There were also students in costumes.

It was more of a fair-type atmosphere than a football one. Cutcliffe called out the students a bit after Duke's thrilling 55-48 win last Saturday against Virginia.

While he was happy with the fans who typically show up and support the team,he was disappointed in the students, saying he didn't know what more they had to do, and that they had missed one heck of a game.

Cutcliffe knows as well as anyone that winning teams bring crowds. He is certainly doing something about that part. And surely, as Duke wins more, more students will come.

But if the interest isn't there because student's are too consumed by other things, the Administration's decision to end Tailgate might just give those students who now have nothing else to do on fall Saturdays a chance to come see a game from time to time.

More students would mean more atmosphere. And while no one expects them to try and duplicate what Cameron has for basketball, a more steady student presence would certainly benefit the team.