Students look forward to the return of tailgating

While protocols have yet to be confirmed, students have plenty of reason to be excited to see tailgating return this year.


Graphic by Marcy Wilder with illustrations by Michelle Rodriguez-Gonzalez.

Richard Pereira, Sports Editor

After one year of being unable to tailgate due to COVID-19, FAU is allowing it to return for the 2021 football season.

While the protocols have yet to be confirmed, students have plenty of reason to be excited to see it return this year.

Donyell Davis, vice-president of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc., said that the fraternity is looking forward to tailgating during the fall semester.

“We want to maximize the fun that our existing students haven’t had in a literal year, but also we want the incoming freshman to enjoy themselves as well,” Davis said. “Tailgating is a staple of university life. With that being said, we also understand that fun, excitement, and this experience is not [meant] to put our health in jeopardy.”

Colby Deaza-Cardarelli, currently a senior majoring in marketing, wished tailgating could have returned sooner before he graduates in the fall. When it couldn’t be done last year, he felt terrible because “it’s a big part of the fun of college.”

Knox Johnson, majoring in business as a sophomore, said tailgating should return when concerts, sporting events, and other gatherings are going back to normal. He believes the decision to cancel tailgating last season was correct.

“It couldn’t be done last year and that’s how last year was. [It] limited the spread [of COVID-19] and there was no vaccine so [it was] probably smart,” Johnson said.

For the fraternity, Davis said they are going to follow every COVID-19 guideline put in place by the Center for Disease and Control (CDC) and the university to ensure the safety and health of fraternity members and the students around them.

“We are approaching tailgating very carefully. We are open to the idea but not if it becomes a concern for FAU students,” Davis said.

Johnson doesn’t believe that COVID-19 will be a concern because, unlike last year, there is now a vaccine available for everyone to get.

“Those [who] don’t get the vaccine are the ones that don’t care if they get the virus and if they die from getting it, that’s their personal choice and risk they take by not getting it,” Johnson said. “We have a vaccine and everything is coming back next year and so should tailgating.”

Deaza-Cardarelli wants the university to approach tailgating this year by having temperature monitors at the tailgate to ensure everyone’s health. In regards to improving tailgating, he thinks that people should be informed about not being able to bring bags and that the tailgate should be throughout the campus.

Regarding bags, a spokesperson from FAU Athletics stated that a clear bag policy is in effect for all events at FAU Stadium. An exception, however, will be made for medically necessary items after proper inspection at a designated gate.

“Small clutch bags, approximately the size of a hand, with or without a handle or strap can be taken into the stadium with a clear plastic bag,” the spokesperson said. “Bags that are clear plastic, vinyl or PVC and do not exceed 12” x 6” x 12” are allowed. A one-gallon plastic freezer bag may also be used.”

Davis and his fraternity hope to see improvements in organization for tailgating. “We understand that if tailgating can be more uniform, the COVID-19 guidelines put in place by the CDC and by Florida Atlantic University become easier to follow,” he said.

Richard Pereira is the Sports Editor for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @Rich26Pereira.

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