UTEP Makes Tailgating More Fan-Friendly for Football
For years, the number one complaint from UTEP football fans has been the tailgating policies at the Sun Bowl. Specifically, the fact that all tailgates on campus need to wrap up by the end of the first quarter. Miner supporters were so turned off by the restrictions that many just stopped going to the football games altogether.
In his first year on the job, UTEP Director of Athletics Jim Senter held many Town Hall meetings around the city and tailgating was the first issue of concern fans brought up to him at every gathering. It was also a subject that was discussed by the school's Fan Council.
Six weeks before the first home football game, UTEP released new tailgating policies for 2019. The two biggest changes are that tailgaters will no longer be required to enter the stadium at the end of the first quarter and the inner campus will be open for tailgating at noon on game days. In addition, tablets and cameras will now be allowed in the Sun Bowl.
"We received extremely valuable feedback from an online survey distributed to season ticket holders and students, and our Fan Council also provided tremendous input throughout the evaluation process," Senter said in an official press release. "We found that some of the existing policies could be considered unreasonable, and could be modified without sacrificing the overall integrity of the game day experience and the safety of all patrons, which will always remain our top priority. We’re dedicated to providing an accessible, safe and fun experience for all Miner fans in 2019!"
Two other big changes for the 2019 season involve the RV lots in SC1 and student entry into games. UTEP will now allow RVs to enter the SC1 lot beginning at 8 a.m. the day before home games (instead of 5 p.m. in previous years). They also did away with the lottery system for student tickets and now, all they need for entry into the Sun Bowl is their Miner Gold Card.
There is no doubt that all of these changes will make the football game day experience a better one for fans. UTEP will have to work around the Sun Bowl stadium renovations and improving their tailgating is a great way to start. They also greatly lack student support and now, attending games is as easy as a swipe of a card. If the football team can show improvement on the field, then 2019 has a chance to be a much better campaign for UTEP than it was a year ago.