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The Yale-Princeton game in New Haven this Saturday had a remarkably high turnout, Yale students said, possibly owing to less enthusiasm for the upcoming Game.
Christian E. Hudson, a sports broadcaster for Yale’s student radio station, WYBC, said that there were over 42,000 students in attendance at the Yale-Princeton game on Saturday. In the past the Princeton game never drew more than 30,000 spectators, while 55,000 students attended the Harvard-Yale game last year, Hudson said.
Hudson, a senior, attributed the unusually high turnout to decreased interest in attending The Game, as well as Yale’s season record: if Yale had beat Princeton last weekend, it would have been guaranteed a share of the Ivy League Title.
Yale lost to Princeton, 34-31.
The fervor also extended to New Jersey. “When we beat Harvard a few weeks ago, there was a lot of excitement about the Yale game,” said Daniel C. Eagles of Princeton. According to Eagles, who is a senior, Princeton has a bonfire every time it beats both Harvard and Yale in one season, and will have its first bonfire in a decade this Thursday.
Last year, Yale beat Princeton but lost to Harvard. “I think Yale doesn’t want to come because we’ve beaten their football team for the past five years,” said Campus Life Fellow John T. Drake ’06. He said that the main reason was probably a lack of transportation subsidies. In response to concerns about restrictions for Yale alum attendance at tailgates, Drake said that alumni tailgates are run through the athletic department and that, to his knowledge, the policies are the same as they were in 2004.
“The spirit of The Game as it’s supposed to be has lost a lot,” said Stephen F. Kappa, a senior in Silliman College. Kappa, who has gone to the past three Games, said that The Game seemed less inclusive than previous years.
Junior Ryan C. Fennerty, the social activities chair for Davenport College, said that confusion with tailgating rules and the fact that Yale’s Council of Masters, comprised of all the residential college masters, will no longer subsidize transportation costs to Cambridge both contribute to the expected decline in attendance.
“Every single student group turned out there and threw a lot of their money into the Princeton tailgate because of the uncertainty at Harvard,” said Fennerty. During an informal meeting of the student activities chairs, four of the 12 residential colleges said they would not do anything for The Game, according to Fennerty. A few were undecided, and a few said that they would not change their traditional plans, he added.
He said that 60 percent of tailgate funds were dedicated to The Game alone, but that this year, that money was put towards the Princeton tailgate instead. He cited Saybrook College’s purchase of a 100-pound roast pig and Morse College’s $5,000 catered tailgate as examples. Fennerty estimated that most organizations plan on spending a little over a half of the money at The Game this year than they had in previous years.
According to Yale College Council Secretary Zachary P. Marks, of the eight spots available for student groups, only two applications were received as of last night, even after the deadline was extended. Marks, a sophomore, said that Jonathan Edwards and Silliman, two of the 12 residential colleges, do not plan on having a tailgate. Every residential college is guaranteed a tailgate spot, but it’s unclear how many will use their space.
—Staff writer Joyce Y. Zhang can be reached at email@example.com.
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