Penn should be ashamed of the tailgating policy it has put in place in advance of the Quakers' road clash with Princeton, writes Senior Sports Editor Nick Buchta.

Credit: Helen Fataw / The Daily Pennsylvanian

I didn’t think there were many more ways Penn could work to stifle any hope of creating a sports culture at this University. Yet, somehow, they’ve found another.

As if it isn’t difficult enough to get the student body invested in Penn Athletics, it has been deemed necessary to clamp down on student drinking at this weekend’s Penn-Princeton football game.

Students having a good time at a football game? The horror.

This was not a decision borne out of some particular, devastating event — it’s baseless nanny state overreach. The real tragedy is suffered by the football players, who lose out on the one road game where they can expect an actual fan presence.

In my three-plus years here, there’s been next to nothing the Penn administration has done that I felt had an actual, positive impact on the student body. But at least they left sports alone. The culture around athletics may not be what I want out of it, but at least there was the freedom to make out of it what I could.

This decision comes on the heels of the first of four fan fests to be held before football and basketball games this year. Finally, Penn was paying lip service to athletics. But even then, there was the explicit command that the presence of alcohol at the event never once be mentioned in promotional material.

Heaven forbid. Could you imagine, college students drinking at a tailgate before a football game? What’s going to happen next? An actual student section during the game? That would be crazy.

This whole thing would be laughable if it weren’t just sad. It’s really necessary to send alcohol monitors on the road to prevent Penn students from doing anything that might be deemed inappropriate.

But hey, it worked. The University got what it wanted. There won’t be any debauchery at all before this game — they got everyone to simply decide not to go. Good for them.

At least the only side effects of this decision are going to be the continued push toward off-campus events and organizations, the undermining of the work Penn Athletics has done to integrate sports and the rest of the Penn experience, the forestalling of any student presence at the game and the perpetuation of the idea that any attempts to have fun have to be made in secret.

I grew up in Ohio, where football is king and sports are a part of the cultural fabric. I’ve been to games across the Big Ten — Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, Wisconsin — and strangely, I’ve seen people combine alcohol, sports and fun without Dante’s Inferno opening up around them. It’s remarkable.

Both Penn and Princeton have been involved in this decision-making process, and apparently Penn students just go too hard to be able to handle themselves in a situation like this. Definitely. Having experienced both, there’s no doubt in my mind that Penn-Princeton is exponentially more wild than Ohio State-Michigan.

At the end of the day, I’m just glad that the Penn administration is here to protect me from myself. I was briefly worried I might accidentally try to have fun this weekend.

That said, I’m still going to Penn-Princeton. I’m going to see the Quakers win their 11th straight Ivy game.

And I’m going to have a helluva good time doing it. You should, too.

Nick Buchta is a College senior from Olmsted Falls, Ohio, and is senior sports editor of the Daily Pennsylvanian. He can be reached at

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