EL PASO, Texas - Football fans, take note-- there are new tailgating rules at UTEP's campus. The university changed up some of its policies following a rash of incidents during last week's big rivalry game against NMSU.
Tailgaters hoping to set up on campus will have to wait until 2 PM. Inner campus lots used to open at noon. Generators will not be allowed, except at the RV lot on Schuster Avenue. DJ's and amplified sound systems are also prohibited.
At Saturday's tailgate, Miners fans had mixed reactions about the new rules. UTEP student Stephanie Rayas liked the changes.
"I think it's a lot safer because tailgating is about bringing families and the community together," she said. "It didn't quite upset me about the new regulations because I think what's causing the trouble is a lot of young kids who can't tolerate their alcohol."
In fact, most of the disturbances reported last week that led to the rule changes were linked to alcohol consumptions. Nearly 30 incidents were reported, including dozens for public intoxication and underage drinking.
Still, some fans would prefer the rules had stayed the same.
"Why punish the whole group for the actions of 1 or 2 percent of the people?" said Ed Daffron, a season ticket holder. "If there are problems with underage drinking and things like that, that's security's job to take care of." He went on to say the crowd was not only smaller at this Saturday's game, but also less festive.
Fans said they definitely noticed more police officers walking around campus checking coolers and asking for ID's. Alex Viera, a Miners fan who said he'd been attending tailgates for about 30 years, said families probably appreciate the fact that the atmosphere is more tame.
"For the families that are out here, I think so, because we don't have to worry about fights breaking out," he said.