Rutgers Tailgate Lot Shut Down Because Administration Simply Doesn’t Get It

Daily Targum:  The Alley, a student tailgate sponsored by Rutgers Athletics for all seven home football games in the 2016 season, is being shut down permanently after the first two games due to “safety concerns,” an anonymous source familiar with the situation told The Daily Targum. Rutgers Athletics confirmed the report in a tweet.

The decision was not made by Rutgers Athletics, according to the source. “I feel the world for the athletics department right now,” the source told the Targum. “They busted their backs to give us something that’s ours and something to be proud of. We finally have an athletic program ready and willing to give us the (Big Ten) environment we’ve been yearning for three years now. But it’s just another frustrating instance of the University refusing to work with us.” …

“The Alley will be a fun, exciting place where students can get together on gameday,” said Rutgers Athletic Director Pat Hobbs in a statement announcing The Alley on Aug. 31. “There was a need to address the tailgating options for our students and we are excited to provide them with this opportunity.” Hobbs gained attention on social media over the weekend when a video surfaced of him sipping what appeared to be a beer given to him by a student at the lot while he gave a speech prior to the Rutgers football team’s game against New Mexico.

 

Hobbs told NJ Advanced Media’s Keith Sargeant that picking up the beer was a “mistake” and he did it as he “was trying to restore order to what was turning out to be an unruly atmosphere.” “My first concern is always the safety and well-being of our students. Anyone who was at The Alley on Saturday knows that I was acting to ensure that,” Hobbs said in a statement issued Tuesday. “I regret that any action on my part could be interpreted as promoting the use of alcohol. That was certainly not my intention.” …


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Warning: I have many thoughts about this and many emotions intertwined with my feedback and complaints.  Thank you in advance for understanding.

What a mess we have in New Brunswick/Piscataway, a mess so large that I can’t do anything but type angrily from behind my keyboard.  We can point fingers in any number of directions here.  If Rutgers football fielded a better team, more people would want to go to the games.  If the relationship with NBPD was more civil, the tailgating atmosphere could be radically different.  If Pat Hobbs didn’t drink that beer, maybe the curmudgeon administration wouldn’t be up in arms.  If the aforementioned curmudgeon administration had a goddamn clue, the student body could come together.  Those are all to blame in some aspect.  I’ll try to break them all down.  As an alumni that has seen both sides of the tailgating culture at Rutgers, I can give a refreshing perspective with some substance and experience to back it up.

First and foremost I’d like to address the new Athletic Director Pat Hobbs.  A tip of the cap is in order above all else because it’s no easy task to take on an Athletics Department in a state of utter turmoil.  The university and its athletic units have been a popular topic of controversy in recent years.  It seems like every 6 months or so we’re going through the same bad press for some new scandal or story.  Thus far, Hobbs has done a fabulous job.  He’s in a tough spot trying to taking a school from the ground level and put them on a path to succeed in the Big Ten.  Asking him to turn around the program overnight, recruit the best athletes in the nation, and beat Michigan and Ohio State is not only asking a lot, but it’s unrealistic.  With that being said, Hobbs seems to have a good head on his shoulders and is working diligently to change the reputation and atmosphere within Rutgers Athletics.

Now I’m not totally educated on how The Alley was organized or who was responsible for it, but it’s my understanding that Hobbs was a major player in doing so.  The tailgating lifestyle at Rutgers has been nonexistent for years.  When I was a student, the Blue Lot was the premier location on game day.  You couldn’t walk 10 ft without bumping into students.  Around every corner was a joint tailgate with fraternities, sororities, students, fans, and everyone in between.  By 8am, every student was on or on their way to the Blue Lot for a tailgate.  And after the tailgate, most of us went to the game, even if just for a little bit.  That was the culture.  Over time, the cops grew stricter and tailgates begun to get shut down within minutes of anything remotely rowdy commencing.  In quick work, student tailgates were more or less eradicated.  Students were resorted to tailgate pregame on College Ave.

And that’s how it’s been for the last 3 years or so.  The football team sucked, so the average student had no reason to trek to Busch campus.  The Alley was a necessity for Rutgers students.  From what I saw and heard, it looked like a great fucking time.  One designated area where students can booze and tailgate (and have fun) together?  Unprecedented at Rutgers.  If you’re gonna roll with the elite in the Big Ten, you need to give the school something to rally around.  And that goes well beyond the players on the field.  There needs to be a football culture surrounding the city.  Without the student body participating in that, it’s all for naught.  Pat Hobbs is on a mission to change the culture of Rutgers football, and The Alley is was a great first step.

Objectively speaking, if I’m at a tailgate and the fucking AD shows up, gets on the back of a pickup truck, grabs the mic, delivers an all time rally speech, and chugs a beer, I’m probably dropping my pants and running laps.  I can’t imagine the adrenaline that gives students.  You know who never did and never would ever do that?  Julie fucking Hermann.  That reactive buffoon has never motivated anyone to do anything other than the Asian guy at Men’s Warehouse to hurry up with her newest pant suit.  Not only do I not have any issue with Hobbs drinking a beer, I respect the hell out of it.  Someone needs to shake things up in Piscataway, and that’s exactly what Pat Hobbs did.  THAT is how you get the people going.

These uppity administrators don’t know what the fuck they’re doing and don’t hesitate to ruin a good thing.  That statement from Hobbs looks like he acted on his own, unsolicited, and issued a public apology.  Anybody with half a brain knows that’s garbage.  That clown Robert Barchi and his loyal band of idiots forced that apology out of Hobbs.  He’s taking the fall for something that literally nobody took offense to.  It’s a damn shame that Hobbs personally had to put out the mea culpa and attach his name to it.  If you have a problem with college students drinking and tailgating for a college football game, then you’re a fucking asshole.  Plain and simple.  The administration doesn’t want to perpetuate an environment with such, which from a legal standpoint makes sense.  However, if you think you can prevent college kids from partying, maybe you should be working at The School of the Blind instead of the State University of New Jersey.

My final point focuses on the theme of mediocrity.  Rutgers Athletics as a hole has been a disappointment in every sense of the word.  I’d be willing to bet that “disappointment” is one of the more pleasant descriptions you’d get if you ask around.  The move to the Big Ten up to this point has been an absolute disaster.  It will take time, no doubt about it.  But the decision makers are only hindering the process.  I’ll put this in very simple form.  If the football team stinks, students will not want to travel to the campus to watch said football team.  If there are fun tailgates on that campus, students will go to said campus and probably attend the game as well.  If you remove said tailgates from said campus, said students will not go to said game.  Recruits will not want to play in an empty stadium in front of a lackluster student section.  The cycle goes round and round.  And so the dissension between students and administrators continues at Rutgers.  Figure it out.  The move to shut down The Alley was a myopic decision with no merit other than the fact that the AD is drinking in front of students.  Spare me.

I’ve said my piece.  Apologies for the language.

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