UPDATE 8/18 Check out our video story below on the heated meeting between UCF officials and angry fans.
UPDATE: Watch new raw video of tailgate meeting uploaded here.
Members of the facebook group upset over recent cuts to tailgate times are planning to attend a game day briefing hosted by UCF to try and convince UCF Vice President Al Harms to reverse the decision.
UCF recently announced it will hold the briefing for local community residents from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 17, in room 117 of the Teaching Academy on UCF’s main campus.
A UCF release said the briefing is part of the university’s longstanding effort to be “good neighbors,” and Harms, who chairs the game day executive committee, will update residents on game day policies and answer their questions.
Harms will discuss game day traffic flow, parking plans, tailgating policies, security and other issues, according to the UCF release.
Members of the 1,000+ member facebook group “Those Against New Tailgating Times for UCF Football” were hopeful a strong showing from upset fans could sway UCF officials.
“We can change this if enough people show up!” posted facebook group member Jj Rauch.
But it didn’t appear that the university would consider rescinding its new policy, because it defended the new times in its release by saying, “The length of UCF’s tailgating period is consistent with what many other universities around the country allow.”
After a backlash from angry fans, however, UCF Atheltics did change the schedule for two UCF home games from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in order to allow extra time for tailgating.
Those changes affect UCF’s first two home games, Samford on Sept. 5 and Buffalo on Sept. 19, which will both kick off at 7:30 p.m.
“We’ve had a chance to review feedback and we collectively discussed the best way to accommodate our fans in enjoying another great home schedule of UCF football,” said Keith Tribble, Director of Athletics, in a release. “I know our longtime fans will appreciate having two additional night kickoffs. This also allows our fans to continue to enjoy an excellent game day atmosphere as we have seen during our first two seasons at Bright House Networks Stadium.”
WATCH: O’Leary Caught On Camera Telling Fans “I’m On Your Side” Regarding Tailgating
ORIGINAL 7/28 STORY BELOW:
UCF fans hoping to tailgate bright and early for this year’s game against UM won’t get the chance – new rules prohibit tailgating before noon that day.
The rules, recently posted at UCFAthletics.com, prohibit parking for tailgating and drinking on campus before noon for any Saturday football game starting at 6 p.m. or later.
Last year tailgating parking lots opened at 7 a.m. for Saturday games and drinking was allowed right when the lots opened. The new rule will shave five hours of tailgating off 6 p.m. kickoff times — basically cutting tailgating in half, from 11 hours to six.
Most Saturday games are affected by the new noontime tailgating rule, including: Samford, Buffalo, Miami and Marshall.
Tailgate parking and drinking will be allowed at 8 a.m. for Saturday games starting before 6 p.m. which include these games: Memphis, Houston and Tulane.
A group of students and alumni started a facebook group protesting the change called “Those against New Tailgating Times for UCF Football.” Members are outraged because UCF “implemented the new rule without feedback from boosters and fans.”
Many group members feel the change will actually cause more danger among heavy drinkers and students.
“Since they can’t do it on campus til [sic] noon … they will pre drink at local homes … then DRIVE to campus at noon,” Trevor Melton posted. “SO in effect, this is causing a more rapid consumption of alcohol, not curbing it.”
Group member Glenn Schneck agreed, posting: “This is going to cause those who want to get drunk/buzzed before the game to drink faster because they have less time. Another stupid decision by the UCF administration.” [sic]
Other facebook members felt this plan will cost UCF precious alumni donations from the Golden Knights Club.
“This is crazy, people who are out there before noon are people who give big money to UCF, and are just out enjoying the day of fun,” Bobby Noble posted, adding the early crowd is “not binge drinking before noon.”
“This is stupid UCF,” Noble continued. “If you want to build up a reputation as a great school that gives back to its alumni and students this is NOT the way to do it.”
KnightNews.com is following this breaking story and will update this article with a response from UCF officials and SGA when it becomes available.