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From the Desk of Athletics Director, Chip Smith

Aug. 30, 2005

2005-06 Western Carolina Tailgating Policy

Catamount fans,

During the spring and summer, a committee evaluated the University's tailgating policy in response to concerns identified during the previous football seasons. The changing parking needs of a growing campus, increasing student population and the desire to provide an enjoyable and safe environment for fans led to some modifications of the existing guidelines. One of those changes involves the elimination of passes-out, or readmissions, into the stadium.

This is not an issue that is new to athletics, especially football, where tailgating is an important part of the game-day atmosphere. Policies that forbid reentry into the stadium are not uncommon; the majority of the football schools in the Southern Conference have similar guidelines, as do all SEC and many ACC schools.

Much of the discussion has centered on reasons for leaving the stadium that relate to personal comfort, such as forgetting an item. Another popular reason to leave the stadium at halftime involves alcohol. While we have been fortunate in avoiding the incidents of fan violence that have led to damage and injury at many other campuses, we have experienced incidents of unruly fans. Unfortunately, much of that behavior has been related to excessive drinking and the consumption of alcoholic beverages. Catamount Football games, and all athletic events, should be representative of the entire university. Longtime fans, newcomers, families, youngsters and visitors alike expect these events to be entertaining and fun. While the actions of the few cause these problems, it affects us all.

Another area of concern is liability to the university. Should there be an alcohol-related accident after the game that involves a fan, the university may be at risk. Prohibiting the consumption of alcohol after game time and enforcement of the no-readmission policy significantly reduces that risk and increases the safety of everyone involved.

All of our fans are very important to Catamount Athletics. We want to provide you with a friendly, comfortable environment, one to which you would be proud to invite guests and brag about to neighbors. The actions of the spectators, as well as those of the competitors, will make that happen.

Thank you for helping us make "The Catamount Experience" one of the best.


Chip Smith, Director of Athletics