In no way does the MU Police Department want to take the fun out of the game day experience, it says. But there will be no more kegs, no more “bulk quantities” of alcohol and no free parking along part of Providence Road anymore.
And for many Tiger fans, that puts a major crimp in a much-loved game day ritual — tailgating.
“Sometimes, people don’t even come to a football game to watch the game, they just want to tailgate,” said MU junior Matt Schwamb of Fenton. “A big part of tailgating is the drinking.”
MU police Capt. Brian Weimer said restricting the use of kegs will increase safety and decrease “unpleasant, rowdy behavior” at games.
Some football fans, however, don’t plan to put away their keg taps anytime soon.
“I think it’s going to be ignored,” Schwamb said, “just like every other alcohol law in Columbia.”
Marcie Davenport, the manager of the wine and spirits department at Hy-Vee in Columbia, said her store sells an average of 10 kegs on game days.
“I don’t expect a major decrease in sales,” she said. “Most of the time, the kegs are bought for parties after the game.”
In addition to new rules on beer and alcohol, MU police re-designated permissible fan parking areas. Weimer said MU police will strictly enforce a no-parking rule on both sides of Providence Road from Research Park Drive to Stadium Boulevard. Parking will be prohibited on both sides of Stadium Boulevard between Providence Road and Monk Drive.
Weimer said the high number of cars parked on the shoulders in previous seasons blocked the view of drivers trying to enter Providence Road from other nearby roads, sometimes causing accidents. He said the new parking zones will increase safety for pedestrian traffic and decrease congestion along Providence Road and Stadium Boulevard.
“It’s important to keep traffic moving and to be considerate of others around,” Weimer said.
According to a statement from MU police Tuesday, parking on the grass on MU’s campus, including the corners of Champions Drive and Providence Road, is also prohibited.
Failure to abide by the new parking rules may result in ticketing and towing.
Weimer urged fans to arrive early to allow sufficient time to park and get to the game.
“There are plenty of spots to park on campus with safe sidewalks and a beautiful campus to look at as you walk to the game,” he said.
Parking is available for $10 per car at the Reactor Field parking lot on Providence Road, south of Stadium Boulevard, and on the third levels and higher of the Maryland Avenue Parking Structure. Parking is free on game days in the Conley Avenue, University Avenue, Turner Avenue, Virginia Avenue and Hitt Street parking structures. Bus and recreation vehicle parking is available for $50 in a lot just southeast of the Hearnes Center.
Another new restriction is that fans are no longer allowed to bring into Memorial Stadium banners, signs or flags that are larger than 2 feet by 3 feet or affixed to a pole or stick.
MU police said the new rules will benefit the overall experience of the game.
“The most important thing,” Weimer said, “is to make sure you have a positive and safe experience.”