The university has recently announced that it will be enforcing additional regulations on game day tailgating, including a ban on drinking games, loud music and DJ booths.
Although the reasons for the ban on extremely amplified sound systems seem logical enough, the prohibition on drinking games is counterintuitive in nature.
According to Senior Vice President for Administration Todd Dickey and Department of Public Safety Capt. David Carlisle, the ban was instituted to reduce the possibility of alcohol-related problems. Dickey also said that drinking games can lead to the overconsumption of alcohol, especially with evening games that allow more time to tailgate.
Carlisle previously told the Daily Trojan that “a record number of alcohol-related incidents and transports to hospitals” this semester have provided the impetus for the new regulations.
Parties on The Row and at off-campus houses might be under closer scrutiny this year for their alcohol-related incidents, but many feel that the general atmosphere of tailgating is one of camaraderie and Trojan spirit, not drunken recklessness.
In fact, Carlisle highlighted how relatively low the number of alcohol problems encountered during tailgating is when considering to the massive amounts of people walking on campus on game days.
If this is the case, the irresponsible actions of a very small minority should not warrant such far-reaching restrictions.
If the university truly wants to decrease the risk of alcohol-related incidents, shutting down a friendly game of beer pong is most likely not going to achieve that goal.
If students want to drink before the game, they will find a way to drink — whether or not they can play a few rounds of flip cup out in McCarthy Quad without a stern cease-and-desist order from DPS.
Alcohol will still be prevalent among tailgaters, and with alcohol comes the risk of alcohol-related incidents, even without drinking games.
Other forms of drinking, especially those involving hard alcohol, might even pose a higher risk than the standard drinking games that are being targeted by the regulations — while games involving hard alcohol are being banned as well, most drinking games are played with beer, which has a lower alcohol concentration than hard liquors and many mixed drinks.
Even while playing drinking games, it is still possible for tailgaters to keep track of their alcohol consumption, which is more difficult to do with mixed drinks that might contain an unknown amount of alcohol.
Still, no matter what the method of consumption is, the possibility of alcohol-related problems always exists whenever alcohol is being consumed.
Although it is true that drinking games might encourage the rapid and seemingly thoughtless consumption of alcohol, the safety of the tailgater lies in his own hands.
Drinking games, like any other form of alcohol consumption, can be enjoyed responsibly. They don’t always have to lead to dangerous levels of intoxication — that is at the discretion of the drinker.
If this privilege is restricted by the university, tailgaters might simply take their pregame festivities off campus.
This situation could actually pose more of a danger to students than a few games of beer pong on campus; DPS has the ability to prevent dangerous situations on campus, but is less able to help in situations that might occur off campus.
Alcohol-related incidents can be dealt with more quickly, and medical emergencies can be responded to more efficiently with the resources that are on campus on a game day.
Campus provides a safe, controlled environment for tailgaters, and it would be safer for people to play drinking games on campus rather than somewhere else.
Ultimately, if alcohol is to be allowed on campus on game day, it should be allowed in all forms. Regulating the manner in which alcohol is consumed will have little impact on the overall alcohol consumption and will merely irritate students.
Outlawing drinking games doesn’t seem likely to reduce the risk of alcohol-related incidents. Irresponsible drinkers will be irresponsible drinkers, whether or not they are playing drinking games. Restricting only a certain form of alcohol consumption will do little to reduce the danger they pose.
Safe drinking is ultimately the responsibility of the tailgaters, not the university or DPS. If tailgaters are given the privilege of drinking on campus on game days, then they should be trusted with this privilege and expected to enjoy it — safely and responsibly.
Jared Servantez is a freshman majoring in print and digital journalism.