USM athletic director, students react to tailgating ban

USM athletic director, students react to tailgating ban

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - Football season is approaching for the University of Southern Mississippi, but now without the option of tailgating.

Gov. Tate Reeves signed an executive order Thursday governing how stadiums and game day events are held.

“There will be no game day social gatherings outside of the stadium. Rallies, parties or tailgates,” Reeves said Thursday.

USM Athletic Director Jeremy McClain explains how this will change the school’s atmosphere during football season.

“You know, tailgating is part of football in the south for sure and its tradition,” McClain said. “And so I hate that we are not going to get a chance to do that, but we’ve known all along that things were going to be very different this year. What I am thankful for is we’ve got an opportunity to try and get to a place where we can play football and do it in a safe way.”

Around campus, students feel life without tailgating is going to be different.

“I feel like it’s going to give a negative impact because here at USM, the tailgating is so big for all the freshmen and the newcomers,” said Jessica Miller, a junior at Southern Miss. “I feel like they are going to really miss a big part of football season like the fun part, the exciting parts. So yes, it’s really, it put a damper on football season and all sports to me.”

Molly Cash, a sophomore at USM, says she enjoyed tailgating her freshman year and not having that opportunity this yea, may impact some students.

“I think that we are all a little, kinda worried about it, I guess, because its such a fun environment,” Cash said. “I’m not sure how its actually going to go. I’m kinda confused because it is such a big part of it and I’ll be interested in seeing how we still have that fun and connection without a tailgate environment.”

The order also mandates university stadiums to limit attendance to 25% capacity.

Masks and social distancing must be enforced at each game.

The Golden Eagles return to The Rock for their first game on Sept. 3rd.

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