The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Friday January 21st

Officials Encourage Alcohol-Free Tailgating Activities

Beer and other alcoholic beverages are forbidden at campus athletic events, according to University policy.

"The policy on tailgating is the same as it's always been," said UNC Police Chief Derek Poarch.

But officials say the University's policy on drinking should not deter students from enjoying themselves before kickoff. Tailgating, they explain, does not necessarily imply alcohol consumption.

"I don't equate tailgating and drinking," said Steve Kirschner, director of athletic communications. "To me, tailgating is spending time with family and friends before the game."

Carolina Athletic Association President Reid Chaney agreed that tailgating still can be fun, despite the tough enforcement of alcohol regulations.

"The University is saying, `We encourage tailgating. ... We want people to be here and to get excited about Carolina football,'" Chaney said.

And he said that can be done without alcohol.

As a complement to tailgating, University officials have encouraged fans to attend a new and improved Tar Heel Town in Polk Place. "We've moved Tar Heel Town up to the main quad area, trying to make it the main focus of the tailgating experience," said Norwood Teague, associate athletic director.

This year, Tar Heel Town will feature big-screen televisions, food, beverages and a live pregame radio program.

In addition, the football team will be dropped off at the Old Well in the heart of Tar Heel Town to greet fans before heading to Kenan Stadium.

But UNC sophomore Victor Ahdieh thinks watered-down tailgating and an improved Tar Heel Town still will not please some students.

"Since tailgating is a social thing, it seems as though students should be doing it, but I think they'd rather be drinking," he said. "I know it sounds terrible, but I think it's true."

Poarch stressed that the University's alcohol policies are not intended to deter tailgating, just to keep it safe.

"I think tailgating is a good atmosphere," Poarch said. "Public Safety supports that atmosphere. But at the same time, we want fans and visitors to our sport venues to be responsible."

Football coach John Bunting says he sympathizes with the University's position. "We've had two, three, four, five meetings about livening up Kenan," he said. "But there are rules. You have to abide by them."

The University Editor can be reached at udesk@unc.edu.

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