Boston Rules Change ‘The Game’

New regulations bring College alcohol policies into complaince with city for the annual Harvard-Yale game

Boston has finally made good on a vow the police department made four years ago to bring the regulations on the Harvard-Yale tailgate in line with city standards on university sporting events. The demand for compliance has resulted in a policy for this year’s Game that is in part stricter than in 2006 and in part more relaxed.

According to the new rules, the tailgate can begin two hours before the game but must end when the game begins at noon. In 2006, the tailgate ended at half-time. But unlike two years ago—when students had to pay for alcohol that was available only in designated, roped-off areas—House Committees can once again serve booze to 21-year-old students, in the form of wine and beer, except for kegs.

After the 2004 Harvard-Yale game ended with students hospitalized for alcohol consumption and others ejected for underage drinking, the subsequent home game featured a significant increase in oversight over students’ behavior but was still not perfectly in sync with Boston laws.

The two shifts in opposite directions are a result of the effort to bring this year’s policies into more rigid compliance.

Jason B. McCoy ’08, this year’s campus life fellow, or “fun czar,” said he agreed that the trend in the past has been toward tightening restrictions but that he does not think this year follows that pattern.

“I think it’s a little bit more student-friendly,” McCoy said.

The College has increasingly sought to bring its general alcohol policy into full compliance with the Massachusetts laws that other universities already follow, especially in relation to Harvard-Yale, House social events, and private room parties.

The new rules also reinstate a ban on U-Haul trucks that was in place in 2004 but not in 2006.

HoCo chairs were presented with the new rules in a meeting on Monday night and will now have to figure out how to plan around them.

Creativity will be an essential part of the planning, as HoCos will have to contend with rising costs since kegs would have been less expensive.

“It forces us to be more creative in terms of what we have to do to have a fun tailgate,” said Jeffrey C. Holder ’09, Dunster HoCo co-chair. “We can’t just throw a keg out there and play loud music.”

As for the Game itself, the hope remains that students will attend with the same enthusiasm.

Harvard quarterback and Boston native Christopher F. Pizzotti ’09 said he thinks that deference to tradition will be enough to fill the stands.

“It’s really a shame, but I think because its a Harvard-Yale game people will still come out,” he said.

Others said they see advantages to the added restrictions.

“It’s a good policy. We get tons of people down by the stadium but the old tailgate rules kept them from making it in the actual stadium,” said Carl D. Ehrlich ’09, who plays defensive end for Harvard.

“We’ve got the horse to the water, it’s just drinking too much,” he said.

—Staff writer Abby D. Phillip can be reached at adphill@fas.harvard.edu.