COLUMBIA- The barbecue grills and beer were missing from the corner of Providence Road and Champions Drive, commonly known as “frat pit,” during Saturday’s football game. The popular location for student tailgating before football games was off-limits. The decision by campus officials to eliminate tailgating there has caused a stir among MU’s Greek community.
Eric Sterchi and Forest Nenninger, of Delta Upsilon, started a Facebook group called “Frat Pit For Life — Bring it Back.” The Facebook group boasted more than 1,000 members Saturday afternoon.
Sterchi described the area as “a group of guys getting together before the game to support the school and cheer on the team.”
Signs prohibiting tailgating at the frat pit were posted in the area Thursday afternoon, and law enforcement officers and personnel were stationed in the area to prevent tailgaters from gathering before Saturday’s game. MU police Capt. Brian Weimer said there was no trouble keeping the area closed off.
He explained that the area was closed mostly due to dangers posed to motorists and pedestrians, although he had no specific information about accidents there.
“Crowds have grown over time in that area and people are spilling out onto Providence and other streets around it,” he said.
Weimer also said MU police have received reports of inappropriate conduct at the location.
Five people were arrested on suspicion of minor in possession during last week’s football game at the frat pit, out of twelve people arrested on the charge that day, Weimer said.
And some of the inappropriate behavior observed by police was due to a lack of port-a-potties, Weimer said.
But Sterchi said he thinks that underage drinking will occur whether tailgating at the frat pit exists or not.
While Sterchi acknowledged that the frat pit has been more crowded this year than in previous years, he did not think the increase was significant.
Sterchi said there was a different mood in the air at Delta Upsilon when he woke up Saturday morning before the game.
“We knew we weren’t going to be able to go down there together and hang out. It was more people going out and doing their own thing,” he said. Sterchi noted that many people chose to go down to Reactor Field instead of the pit.
“It’s a tradition we deserve and it shouldn’t have been taken away from us, with all we give to the University,” he said. “We’re working on it and seeing what we can do.”
Missourian reporter Annee Tousseau contributed to this report.