Why We Banned Alcohol at Our Football Games

By Guest Contributor

Dear Middlebury College Community,

I know some of you have taken exception to our decision to ban alcohol at football game tailgate events. Let me tell you in the plainest terms why we have done this. For some time, we have been dealing with issues arising from incidents of overuse of alcohol by some attendees. We have tried to address these issues through various steps, including increasing staffing levels and limiting the times during which alcohol can be consumed. 

But none of these steps we have taken has worked. Over the past three to four years in particular, there have been numerous incidents of inappropriate, embarrassing and often unsafe behavior in the tailgate area and, as a consequence, in the stadium. In every instance, excessive alcohol was involved. Last year’s home football game against Trinity was a case in point. It was one of the best games in Middlebury football history. The players from both teams exemplified what it means to be a NESCAC athlete. However, the behavior of the crowd in the tailgate area was an absolute disgrace, and it turned what should have been a proud day for Middlebury football into an embarrassing episode for the College, the Athletics Department and the football program.  Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident.

After last season, I felt compelled to ask myself what we should do to address this situation. In the end, I believe the issue is one of integrity and safety. It is our responsibility to provide a safe, and hospitable environment to our fans, to opposing teams and to their fans. Moreover, given everything Middlebury and its Athletics program stands for, and the commitment we have to our fellow NESCAC members, I concluded that the only responsible step was to remove alcohol from the equation.   We do not allow alcohol at any of our other athletic venues or parking areas, and it is time we do the same at football.

I thank you in advance for your support in the upcoming season. I am looking forward to the year with confidence at how Middlebury will be represented on AND off the field. This policy allows us to go into the season with the integrity we say we have, the integrity we demand of our students and coaches, and to be secure in the knowledge that we have provided an appropriate and safe venue to enjoy DIII college football.

Best,

Erin

ERIN QUINN is the Director of Athletics.

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