Football and tailgating go together like “D” and “Mac.” Beers, brats and friends outside of War Memorial Stadium or Razorback Reynolds Stadium are scientifically-verified ingredients of the good life, after all.
Unfortunately, things are going to go down a little differently this fall.
Thanks to everybody’s favorite virus, Arkansas’ home football games will have the feel of a very strange, very clean dystopian dream. There will be so much of the six-feet-away social distancing that only 16 or 17,000 folks will be allowed into the stadium for the five home games, according to a University of Arkansas press release on Sunday night.
Sadly, the Hog Walk, the Fayetteville tradition of lining the ropes of Lot 44 (aka “The Pit”) to welcome and high-five the Hog players, will be scrapped for this season as well. As will the tradition of getting soda refills at the concession stands and getting around having to pay $5 for a d*mn bottled water by simply drinking out of the water fountain (all water foundations will be shut down).
Oh, and no more “Running Through the A” that’s formed by the band for players before games. The field must be cleared of activity prior to the team coming out of the locker room, so tradition is also be be terminated for 2020.
So, there’s a lot to be sad about.
After the limited attendance, though, the worst of the news is the fact that the Razorbacks aren’t going to allow any tailgating in Fayetteville, where all home games will be played in 2020.
“Tailgating is an extremely important aspect of the college football gameday experience,” the release stated. “However, based upon direction from the ADH [Arkansas Department of Health], tailgating will not be permitted on University of Arkansas property this fall. This is inclusive of parking lots and tented areas such as Victory Village and The Gardens.”
What does this mean?
It means that we’re probably going to see a cottage industry spring up that’s based on renting out parking lots around campus to socially distance tailgate on. It also means we’re not going to see glorious visions like these this fall:
Here are a few other top takeaways from Arkansas’ release for the Hogs’ home games against No. 3 Alabama, No. 4 Georgia No. 5 LSU, No. 26 (yes, you read that right) Tennessee and Ole Miss.
- ● Mobile-only ticketing will provide contactless experience at gates and in the stands.
- Spirit Squads: While cheerleaders, pom squad and mascots will be in attendance and visible in some capacity, they will not be allowed to be on the sidelines during the game and their direct interactions with fans will be eliminated, due to social distancing precautions.
- Due to extremely limited quantities of seats, season ticket purchasers will be able to request either a 5-game, 3-game (LSU, Tennessee, Ole Miss) or 2-game (Georgia, Alabama) season ticket plan.
Next week, all season ticket holders will get an email survey where they can submit their preference regarding available ticket packages.
The UA adds: “If for any reason you do not feel comfortable attending games this fall, please contact the Razorback Ticket Center to discuss your options, including donating all or a portion of your ticket purchase to the Razorback Foundation.” But don’t get your panties in a wad. You will still be able to renew the same seat locations for the 2021 season.”
Finally, as would be expected, all guests, event staff and employees will be required to wear face coverings (over the nose and mouth) from when they get line to enter the stadium until exiting.
That makes sense.
What doesn’t make sense are these weird, depressing illustrations that the U of A included in its release:
What I don’t get is, why go through the trouble of mocking these up to show how important social distancing and mask wearing is only to show your subjects NOT WEARING ANY MASKS WHATSOEVER?
It’s beyond me. My only guess is that because these cartoon people live charmed lives without noses and mouths, ADH regulations don’t apply to them.
In the end, as horrible as losing tailgating for a fall is, it’s better than losing football altogether. And we can always cling to these dear, dear memories:
And here’s a funny interview of tailgaters before one of Chad Morris’ last games: