Tailgating Policy: Yow’s Response (8pm Update)

8:00pm Update
I spoke with Yow on the phone for about 15 minutes. She called me from the Murphy Center while waiting to address the football team. She was friendly, authoritative and candid.

She’s clearly passionate, and I believe she cares.

I asked her if I could paraphrase all of her comments and she said that was fine.

Here’s how she responded, paraphrased:
She explicitly stated that in no way had she meant to “diss” conceal carry permit holders; that’s not at all what this is about. She “strongly supports” the Second Amendment, her husband is a permit holder, and she is a recreational shooter.

She didn’t offer a “big answer” originally, but she knows the policy is unpopular among fans. She clarified that it’s “not unimportant by any means” and the discussion is ongoing. However, she does not operate alone. On matters of safety, the “subject matter experts” (local and campus police) are always involved in the discussion. They have very real conversations about this policy, and the Boston bombings and the new handgun laws have been part of the discussion. Safety is a real concern, and she defers to the experts on these matters. And the experts decided the current policy should be maintained. She doesn’t push back on matters of safety.

I asked if there were any incidents that caused additional concern and she said there is a safety debrief after every game where they discuss fights, alcohol incidents, etc., and ways to improve safety. She feels it’s important to “protect where we are” in regards to the policies; particularly, alcohol (she called tighter alcohol restrictions “impossible”).

I asked her to comment on the less-stringent policies among our ACC peers, and she said that offline, most of the others wish they could tighten restrictions further, but it’s such a political topic, and in many places the policy is simply a habit that is too difficult to change.

She ended by saying the “door isn’t closed” and then she proudly commented on how excited she is about the Reynolds renovation, and how important our traditions and heritage are to her.


Update 6:30pm
AD Yow contacted SFN within minutes of this posting and said she’s willing to clarify her comments. Pretty cool. To be fair, we didn’t really offer her that chance in the original posting. Agree or disagree, she’s clearly aware and in charge. We’ll print her response soon.


Original Post

I’ve had conversations on campus about that, and given the explosion in Boston, no one thinks that… do our fans know that the state of North Carolina, the legislature is considering allowing concealed weapons on university campuses? They are. The vote hasn’t occurred yet, but if you had a concealed permit you would be able to bring the gun into the parking lots, legally.

Obviously between the situation in Boston and the state of North Carolina considering allowing concealed weapons on university premises, no one believes this is the time to make any changes or relax tailgating hours.

I’m very concerned about this concept of being able to bring a loaded gun [on campus]. You wouldn’t be able to bring it in the stadium but you would be able to bring it to your tailgate.

Unfortunately people drink before, during, and after games… it’s not a good combination.

This was the response by N.C. State AD Debbie Yow in a Q & A on Pack Pride to the question: “When will the five-hour tailgating rule end?” (A Scout.com account is required to view the transcript).

The SFN author group has discussed this via email and reached the following consensus: Yow’s response was…not good, and we’re challenging her to clarify her rationale.

We appreciate that game day security is an utmost concern, but where is the correlation between the Boston terrorist attack and the tailgating policy? She even broke away from this quickly, as if she realized she couldn’t support the logic.

And don’t mistake this for a pro/anti- concealed handgun law on campuses, because it’s not. None of us disagree that mixing guns and alcohol at a tailgate is quite concerning. On the contrary. But consider this, only 0.003% of all concealed carry permits issued since 1995 have eventually been revoked (source: NCDOJ), which strongly suggests that concealed handgun permit owners are overwhelmingly law-abiding (it is unlawful to carry while drinking alcohol or intoxicated). In other words, concealed handgun permit holders aren’t bringing their guns to tailgates where they’ll be drinking alcohol. So is this really a legitimate concern?

Clearly this topic has remained quite political across changing administrations since the tragic 2004 fairgrounds murder and the knee-jerk response that created — and then maintained — this current tailgating policy. The shooting proved to be an isolated incident where it appeared that neither the drug-dealing thug nor his victim were there for the game. What the policy effectively did get right was to limit access to the fairgrounds lots to only those with parking passes.

Otherwise, when it comes to the game day experience, our administration continues its path of being a solution in search of a problem where none exists.

Just for reference, less than a year ago, in September 2012, Yow said the following about how our policy compares to our ACC peers (GoPack.com):

My understanding is that there is a university task force that made the original recommendation several years ago to begin tailgating four hours before each game. Later, they added another hour so that now fans can arrive five hours before each game. The task force includes members from campus police, the Wolfpack Club staff, athletics, and student affairs. We hope the group can be reconvened this winter to review the policy.

Policies for the opening of parking lots across ACC schools vary greatly. Here are a few examples: Miami opens four hours prior to kickoff, Maryland opens six hours prior to kickoff, Virginia opens somewhere between three and five hours prior to kickoff depending on the specific lot, Boston College opens at 6 am for kickoffs of 1 pm or earlier and 8 am for kickoffs later than 1 pm, Clemson opens at 6 am each game day, Florida State lots open five hours prior to kickoff, Georgia Tech lots open at 7 am on game day, Wake Forest lots open six hours prior to kickoff for games beginning at 3:30 or over. For evening games, those lots open eight hours prior to kickoff. Syracuse opens lots four hours prior to kickoff and Pitt opens lots five hours prior to kickoff. UNC opens reserved lots at 7 am on game day.

This research was done by our Associate AD for facilities.

Our policy appears inconsistent with much of the ACC. So, the question here: what are we doing differently than our peers with less-stringent policies that causes so much concern?

It’s just one more example of a detached athletic department taking for granted its greatest asset: the fans. Tailgating is one of the few things we actually excel at, yet this administration continues to frustrate its donors by viewing the tailgating culture with contempt, rather than promote the opportunity it offers (although the cynical among us believe that this policy will quickly change as soon as there is a plan to generate revenue off extended tailgating hours).

Over the years, many of us have donated (relatively speaking) significant amounts of our disposable income, with very little on-field, tangible ROI. Improving the game day “experience” is a very simple way to say “thank you.”

The question about the tailgating policy isn’t going away. We don’t necessarily have the answer, but our problem with Yow’s response is that it lacks merit, and we’re asking for clarity.

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AD & Department Athletics Directors Debbie Yow NC State Administration NCS Football

49 Responses to Tailgating Policy: Yow’s Response (8pm Update)

  1. archdalepack 08/01/2013 at 6:04 PM #

    CCW permit holders will be able to drive to events, then lock weapon in trunk upon arrival. They must secure weapon in a gun safe, then lock weapon in trunk. They will not be authorized to have weapon outside of vehicle. They will not be able to enter stadium with firearm. If they are caught with weapon outside of vehicle, then they become felons. Gun owners do not want to become felons.

    Responsible gun owners are not a problem.

    SFN Note: She actually said exactly that. The concern is about the drunk buddy who knows where the gun is and decides to wave it around to scare someone.

  2. Lumpy 08/01/2013 at 6:12 PM #

    This tailgating policy is-and always has been- a typical lazy and unnecessary NC State response. Same as ticket camp out and any other gathering of more than five students that could be considered too much fun.

  3. tjfoose1 08/01/2013 at 6:18 PM #

    A weak ass, thoughtless, illogical, off point and just plain dumb response.

    Thankfully, this is a rarity with the current leadership.

  4. willalwaysbelieve 08/01/2013 at 6:27 PM #

    I was with you until the last 4 paragraphs. Tailgating is a privilege, not a right. As the father of 3 kids that I take to games, I see enough dumb ass behavior in the parking lot before games already. 4 hours is enough time to get there, enjoy a nice meal, play around, and yes, have a couple of drinks before going into the game.

    I am a gun owner and am totally opposed to guns being taken onto campus property, including the Carter-Finley parking lot. Nothing good can come from that.

  5. tjfoose1 08/01/2013 at 6:41 PM #

    ^ There’s s lot of bad and irresponsible parenting that goes on every day, guess that means we should take your kids away.

    No one is claiming tailgating is a “right”. But considering the associated cost in time, money, and loyalty, it certainly is not a privilege to be arbitrarily bestowed upon us by our masters.

    Four hours is not enough time if you’re driving a great distance and want to set up, cook a full meal, entertain, and enjoy.

    Theres a certain phrase from the 70’s Bad News Bears movie that eloquently describes what you can do with your presumptuous attitude and moral superiority.

  6. TheCOWDOG 08/01/2013 at 7:27 PM #

    Man, if anyone can’t get done what they need to get done tailgating in 3 hrs..
    They are a piss poor party planner. Ask for help right here, if needed ..

    Concealed guns anywhere makes me nervous . Jesushchristinasidecar…display so I can keep an eye on ya. Got no problem with that..

  7. tjfoose1 08/01/2013 at 7:48 PM #

    I hear ya ‘Dog, and agree, myself.

    I rarely tailgate, and when I do, I usually go out only an hour or two before kickoff. But I understand those who want more time, especially when wanting a pig-pickin, like we used to do semi-regularly. I don’t presume to impose my timeline of pregame activities onto others.

    Point is, I’m tired of lazy leadership, in all aspect of society. Police those who need it, punish those who deserve it, severely if necessary. Just leave the rest of us alone.

    Stop the lazy, reactionary, no-tolerance, blanket punishment of everyone because of the actions of one or two dumb asses.

    Principals don’t know how to lead, don’t want to be put in tough spots, don’t want to make tough decision, so they make no-tolerance rules and expel some kid for bringing a plastic butter knife to school to spread his peanut butter, or my favorite, expel an 8 year old kid because he took a bite out of his Pop-Tart and made it vaguely resemble the rough outline of a handgun.

    In this particular case, in spite of the N&O fluff piece trying the make the murderer out to be some sort of misunderstood victim, the thug drug dealer should’ve been locked up instead of roaming the fairgrounds lot that fateful Saturday.

    But nope, because of more panzie ass leadership, his repeat offender’s ass was free to roam and murder.

  8. TheCOWDOG 08/01/2013 at 7:53 PM #

    And another thing. The fact that she even cares about a mediocre article from our…our SFN site, should be commended.

    Who wrote this one?

    SFN Note: It was a conglomeration of thoughts among the authors.


  9. triadwolf 08/01/2013 at 7:58 PM #

    I see dumb ass behavior almost everywhere I go with any large crowd. A tailgating policy is not going to change that.

    As the famous quote goes – “You can’t fix stupid!”

  10. whitefang 08/01/2013 at 8:06 PM #

    The concealed carry permit holders won’t carry if they’re drinking. That is against the law. We went through the process to get the permit to carry legally. I never carry when or where it is not legal and based on revocation percentage obviously very very few of us do.
    It’s the ones carrying ILLEGALLY that you should worry about. Policies and laws don’t matter to that group. See shooting in 2004.

  11. tjfoose1 08/01/2013 at 8:22 PM #

    “The fact that she even cares about a mediocre article from our…our SFN site, should be commended.”

    Kudos to Yow. She gets most of them right. She’s entitled to miss a few. I’ll even give her a pass on this one, if, IF, she can provide a cogent, convincing explanation for her reasoning.

    Boil it all down, regardless of what is claimed, the simple reason is, it’s easier. From the perspective of the administration and cost/benefit, there’s no reason to change. So a few alums get aggravated, so what. It’s ain’t about fair and right, it’s about easy and revenue. It’s not worth expending the energy on it.

    Advice to Yow – just be honest about it. That first attempt of an explanation for your reasoning is beneath you.

  12. tjfoose1 08/01/2013 at 8:27 PM #

    “You can’t fix stupid!”

    But there’s a trillion dollar industry in Washington that claims it can be legislated away.

  13. triadwolf 08/01/2013 at 8:33 PM #

    ^ how true.

  14. packalum44 08/01/2013 at 9:27 PM #

    DY Translation:

    “What incentive do I have to change the rule? It will make a few fans happy, but most fans don’t blame me for the time limit not to mention most have forgotten about prior unlimited tailgating.

    What costs do I have? Pay staff extra money to patrol lots. Qualitatively, IF something did happen, I get blamed. Easy decision.”

    If we are to take her comments at face value, then I overestimate someone who takes advice from “police”, a group that has an average IQ of office secretaries. It seems that during their internal discussions, the Boston bombing and handgun legislation was indeed discussed, but you guys have done a nice job of disarming that posit. I wonder if they read about the civil war in Syria?

    We suck so much that most of our games are noon anyway.

  15. TheCOWDOG 08/01/2013 at 9:31 PM #

    Cookies? Cookies? Can’t. have ’em.

    Cake. Let them eat cake!

  16. tjfoose1 08/01/2013 at 10:02 PM #

    Yeah! Cookies AND cake at every tailgate.

    Hey, that rhymes.

  17. Lumpy 08/01/2013 at 10:08 PM #

    I’m not gonna scum out Debbie for her response. Everyone knows that terror attacks and conceal and carry laws have nothing to do with tailgating restrictions, but she wasn’t around when this nonsense started and I don’t expect her to throw public safety officials under the bus to score points with fans.
    Short of every single fan refusing to attend games until this rule is abolished, we are never going back to the way it used to be. The University got rid of a lot of risk when they made this rule and there’s no way they open up the floodgates again now that they built the dam. Having said that, I don’t see why they can’t offer overnight and all day tailgating passes to people who already have a parking pass for a fee. The money can pay for the extra security to prevent the violent drunken hellscape that safety officials seem to think we will devolve into without this time limit even though that was never the case before.

  18. BJD95 08/01/2013 at 10:40 PM #

    As a society, we are prone to such senseless applications of “Chicken Little” thinking. I hate irrationality, especially in the context of trading (or authorities trading for us) freedom for the illusion of security.

    I’m not surprised DY won’t spend political capital to stand up to this particular piece of irrationality. But I do applaud it being pointed out for what it is.

  19. Adventuroo 08/01/2013 at 11:47 PM #


    Not to argumentative, but here is the text from HR 937.

    The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:
    SECTION 1. G.S. 14-269 is amended by adding a new subsection to read:
    “(a2) This prohibition does not apply to a person who has a concealed handgun permit issued in accordance with Article 54B of this Chapter, has a concealed handgun permit considered valid under G.S. 14-415.24, or is exempt from obtaining a permit pursuant to G.S. 14-415.25, provided the weapon is a handgun, is in a closed compartment or container within the person’s locked vehicle, and the vehicle is in a parking area that is owned or leased by State government. A person may unlock the vehicle to enter or exit the vehicle, provided the handgun remains in the closed compartment at all times and the vehicle is locked immediately following the entrance or exit.”

    I used to read a LOT of regulations and Federal Registers. I think that you do not need a gun safe. Even if you have an SUV with NO locked compartment, you can put the weapon in a rear closed storage hatch and that would count as a closed compartment.

    It is a bit liberal as written….and it is also subject to interpretation.

    As a CHP, I totally agree with the comments that someone that travels and routinely has a weapon in the vehicle is NOT the issue. The new law just takes out the “GOTTA take it out….GOTTA remember to put it back in…” syndrome.

    As to the Tailgating Situation…..I think it has improved a lot. The shooting in 2004 was really spooky. I used to take my older MH to the Trinity lot. With the condition of some of the opponent’s fans and their less than sportsmanlike conduct, I would never do that now with my new MH.

    I also take my young GK’s to the games and the closer you are to CF, the more age appropriate it seems to be. We are in one of the PNC lots and we can’t sprawl out everywhere, but the atmosphere is much more family oriented.

    Just my thoughts…..

  20. PackerInRussia 08/02/2013 at 4:41 AM #

    She should lengthen the amount of time, but announce that a group of neighborhood watch volunteers will patrol the grounds for safety. Problem solved, right?

  21. graywolf 08/02/2013 at 8:27 AM #

    Is Yow perfect…no. Is Yow better than the previous administration….off the charts as compared to Uncle Jed. Dr Woodson and Dr Yow are the two best things to happen to NC State in the last quarter century.

  22. Khan 08/02/2013 at 8:54 AM #

    So what would happen if another shooting occurred within the current 5 hour tailgating window? Would it get shortened to 2 or 3 hours…or less? Serious question. You can’t eliminate bad or stupid.

    Five hours is more than enough time to get trashed and do irrational things, and I’m sure that many begin the fun before the five hour window opens anyway.

    The 2004 incident was tragic, but there’s also no evidence that it was part of a broader, recurrent pattern of tailgate violance either.

  23. Oldwolf 08/02/2013 at 8:56 AM #

    The shooting in 2004 while terrible, spooky, and an awful thing. It really had nothing to do with legitimate football ticket holders and football fans.

    The problem was with people that came to the free lots that were just attending a giant party and not going to the game.

    The shooting took place actually after the game had started and the person had gome home to get his gun and then came back.

    None of the involved (shooter, victem, etc) were there for the game and none had tickets.

    The issue of controlling the lots by having permits etc and controlling who can enter has done a good job of keeping that kind of behavior in check for the most part.

    The letting tailgating lots open up earlier than 4 or 5 hours makes no difference in the safety aspect.

    I have been down to Clemson and tailgated with friends and students long before the 5 hour limit. However, on a regular basis at C-F and living close by, then I would not likely take advantage of an earlier time-frame.

    However, I can see the benefit for folk that travel some distance or otherwise want to setup early for something like cooking a pig.

    I can understand the financial aspect of limiting the costs associated with extending the time, also.

  24. Rick 08/02/2013 at 8:56 AM #

    “Who wrote this one?”

    [redacted] wrote it but it was an amalgamation of the thoughts of all of the authors in a series of emails.

    I am impressed with Yow responding like she did. She easily could have ignored it or tried to marginalize our opinions. IMO she does not want to fight this fight. There is probably way too much downside for very little upside.

  25. Bowlpack 08/02/2013 at 9:18 AM #

    “The issue of controlling the lots by having permits etc and controlling who can enter has done a good job of keeping that kind of behavior in check for the most part.

    The letting tailgating lots open up earlier than 4 or 5 hours makes no difference in the safety aspect.”

    Somewhere in here lies a solution (of sorts).

    You’re simply not going to be able to control everyone and if somebody wants to bring a weapon to a lot then they are going to do it regardless of restrictions, etc. That’s not even the issue and I’m not sure how or why DY went down that path in formulating a response.

    What could work is to let people with permit parking in earlier (7am) and not open the public lots until 5 hours prior to game time. That at least gives the folks that have put forth the finances an opportunity to extend their tailgate and could promote a greater connection with out-of-state alumni/fans.

    If we truly want to establish an SEC atmosphere (which is something I would love having grown up around that) then we’re going to have to think about what goes on outside of the stadium as well.

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