When we heard of the plans to have set, paid outdoor tailgating spots on Auburn’s newly minted Campus Green, we have to admit we were initially concerned.
After researching the plans and finding out the outdoor tailgating spots only took up around 1 percent of the campus, our initial hesitance was somewhat calmed.
Now, we find out that in addition to the 70 paid outdoor tailgating spots being brought to campus, the new Student Center will play host to nine different indoor tailgating suites: three balcony suites for $500 per game, the Panoramic View Room for $300, four patio suites for $300 each and the Student Center Ballroom for the price of $1200.
We hardly know where to begin.
As students, we certainly could not find the justification to pay rates that high for tailgating.
In this economy, we wonder if anyone, student or otherwise, would be willing to scrape together the necessary funds to pay for the suites.
Will students and Auburn fans have access to the Student Center on gamedays, or will they be asked to present some sort of ID or wristband to be allowed into a building that was constructed with their tuition and tax dollars?
If they are barred from being admitted, is that legal?
Legality aside, what does this say about Auburn?
By allowing a set paid tailgating zone, is the University creating a two-class system out of the Auburn family: the haves and the have-nots (or, more aptly, the will-pays and the will-nots)?
If this venture does prove successful, will the paid tailgating zone balloon and begin to envelop other areas on campus, tailgating sites that have remained traditional mainstays for generations?
Auburn is famously known for being a family of fans, but we cannot help but think the problems posed by paid tailgating may cause some family spats.
We are not a family of exclusion.
This University and the quality of fans it produces are known far and wide for their spirits of generosity and kindness.
It has often been said you could walk up to almost any tailgate on campus and join in the celebration.
After all, we’re all family, aren’t we?
The dangerous future represented by paid tailgating paints an almost apocalyptic scenario where non-paying tailgaters are relegated to the nether regions of campus, if they are still allowed on campus at all.
Of course, it goes without saying that walk-up tailgaters would certainly be discouraged in this future.
We do not like this grim vision of what could come, and we pray it is simply the products of our hyped-up and overactive imaginations.
We hope, but we also maintain a healthy sense of realism.