If you haven't seen it already, there are new tailgating regulations out for North Campus -- and they're not pretty.
Essentially anything beyond a picnic blanket and an iPod will be off limits, and if you're hoping to bring a TV and a keg and a grill... you're going to have to move elsewhere.
Given the problems that occurred repeatedly last season, this really shouldn't come as much of a surprise. There were warnings, and while things improved marginally, it wasn't enough.
The general response thus far seems to be a cross between bewilderment and outrage -- directed both at the school for implementing the new regulations and at the tailgaters who ruined the fun for everyone else.
I can understand both opinions. After all, alumni and fans pay an awful lot of money to spend a Saturday in Athens, and this is a big blow to the game-day routines for many of them. At the same time, the state of North Campus after several home games last season was an absolute disgrace and a black eye for the school. (Seriously, why do you want to give Tech fans a reason to make fun of you?)
But here's my problem with this: The litter was not caused by tailgating. It was caused by morons.
The new rules essentially eliminate any serious tailgating, but the school can't ban being an idiot. And in the end, the idiots will still show up -- they'll just cause their damage elsewhere.
What seems to me to be a far more reasonable solution would be to charge a significant fee to tailgate on North Campus -- no different than a seat licensing fee in the stadium. This creates a sense of ownership of the area. You buy the spot, and it's yours on game day. It's one thing to watch someone trash a parking spot -- it's another to watch your neighbor trash his lawn. The sense of ownership will hopefully create more self-policing.
Of course, it would also generate revenue -- revenue that should be spent on additional trash cans, additional port-o-johns and additional security. This alone should have a marked effect on the number of people trashing the area.
Third, the school should have strict regulations about littering, public urination and destruction of property with hefty fines. The tailgate licensing fees could allow UGA to hire more security to patrol the area, and the fines will create additional revenue that can be used to clean up the area after game day while at the same time, hopefully discouraging the people who may have been inclined to leave a bunch of trash behind.
Again, not a foolproof plan, but certainly one that seems a more palatable plan for everyone and likely a more effective longterm solution. Because if all you're doing is moving the idiots elsewhere, you're going to find yourself cleaning up just as much of a mess, just spread out in more places.