Game Day: Tailgating ... beer, Benny and ... beer
State Police keep sharp eye on drinking in Reser Stadium, but stuff still happens
Published: Monday, October 3, 2005
Updated: Tuesday, July 24, 2012 20:07
Alumni, students, faculty and local die-hard Beaver fans alike congregate along campus streets and parking lots, toting children clad in officially licensed Beaver apparel, faces adorned with orange and black paint, cheering, whooping, and, yes - sometimes drinking.
Tailgating has become a long-standing tradition of revelry at college campuses, providing a fun, social way to pump up before the game.
The diversion has become increasingly more popular with Reser's new and improved expansion project drawing an additional 10,000 fans to the games - and an inevitable surge in alcohol at tailgating parties.
Oregon State University's campus police department - a substation of the Oregon State Police - says it is prepared to deal with alcohol-related issues before, during and after games, in an attempt to create a safe environment.
"No alcohol is allowed in Reser Stadium except in designated areas," said John Cheney, assistant athletic director of facilities and operations.
"Fans under the age of 21 will be turned over to law enforcement for citation," Cheney said. "Medical personnel are also in place to assist those who become overly intoxicated and ill."
An influx of state troopers has also become mandatory at all games.
"We had 30 troopers work the ASU game," said OSP Sgt. Jeff Lanz. "We now usually try to have between 20-25 troopers, which is an increase from 10-15 (from last year)."
The augmentation of security is no doubt due in part to the increased crowds packing Reser Stadium on home game days.
Lanz, who started his command in May 2005, is serious about maintaining a safe atmosphere at games, adding that minors found under the influence can be "excluded from the game and issued a minor in possession ... which requires you to go to court."
Based on the severity of the offense, patrons of Reser can be "excluded from campus," according to Julie Beebe, the crime statistics analyst for the OSP station, which is located in Cascade Hall.
"This year, they are very strictly enforcing alcohol in Reser. You can be excluded from the game ... escorted from the stadium and not allowed back in for the remainder of the game," Beebe said.
At Saturday's game against Washington State, police logs show that 20 people were removed from Reser for having alcohol inside the stadium.
Six others were excluded for disorderly conduct and seven more were excluded for minor in possession of alcohol.
If the offense is severe enough, offenders can be excluded from athletic events for up to a year.
Exclusionary policies and increased police activity aren't the only methods being employed to enforce the zero tolerance policy on alcohol.
"We do have a ... security system (inside Reser) manned by a trooper," Lanz said. "He has access to dial in on any part of the stadium and record that with the video system ... that's really helped us with the increased numbers that we have."
Although these policies have been effective in monitoring the on-goings at Reser, they do exclude tailgating parties. Lanz and Cheney both reiterated that tailgater fans that are 21 and over have nothing to worry about - as long as they are enjoying their alcohol responsibly.
"If you're an adult and under the influence, it's not a crime as long as the alcohol ... isn't causing you to act in other behaviors which would be illegal," Lanz said.
Various illegal actions would include, "students ... engaging in some kind of behavior that draws attention to themselves ... being loud ... fighting, harassment or urinating in public," Lanz said.
Lanz also recalled incidents of students, "being in a tree in the Memorial Union Quad, shoving, playing grab-ass games with their buddies on the side of the road ... and stumbling."
Despite increased security, however, tailgating fans still religiously roll onto campus, with coolers and barbecue in tow.
"People I tailgate with are past 21 ... it has never been an issue," said J.R. Bonebrake, who was tailgating at Saturday's game. "It's part of the college experience."
Emilee Mackey, an OSU freshman majoring in exercise and sports science, was quick to state that it requires very little effort to obtain alcohol from adult tailgaters, "especially girls."
"No matter what they (the police) do, (drinking at tailgaters) is still going to happen," Mackey said. "We're at college."
Holly Strussner, staff writer