With new restrictions in place for tailgating, Saturday’s season opener at Kinnick Stadium did not bring many major disturbances. However, police did write a large number of tickets for alcohol-related violations.
David Visin, associate director of public safety for the University of Iowa Police, said only seven people were transported to the Johnson County Jail, but a total of 146 near Kinnick Stadium were cited for various violations.
Police reported 117 open container violations and 12 minor in possession of alcohol (PAULA) violations.
They also issued citations to five people for consuming alcohol in a public place. Five people were cited for public urination, one was cited for operating while intoxicated (OWI) and one was cited for a seat belt violation.
The youngest person cited was 19 and the oldest was 61.
Last month, the University of Iowa launched the ‘Think Before You Drink’ campaign to try and cut down on incidents around Kinnick Stadium during home football games.
The tighter restrictions are aimed at stopping all alcohol consumption in university parking lots one hour after the end of the game and stopping all tailgating two hours after the final whistle.
“Everybody’s very mad,” said Jerome Swenk of Oxford about how some fans reacted to the new limitations. “I don’t think it’s going to last long, though. They do this about every year. Every year, they try and crack down on the drinking and it lasts like three or four games, maybe.”
Kermit Knott of Ottumwa said he has been going to Hawkeye games for decades and has spent plenty of time tailgating in the university lots. “I think they are going overboard with what they are trying to do,” Knott said. “We’ve never seen any problems in the parking lots.” Knott said trying to keep a zero-tolerance policy could be a real challenge because of all the people. “Trying to enforce them is almost impossible with the amount of people this year,” he said. “I don’t think they can enforce it the way they think they can.”
Getting into Kinnick Stadium before the game required a fair amount of patience. Security officers were spotted searching water bottles being carried into the stadium.
Fans who had the bottles had to get into a special inspection line or throw away the bottles.
“If you are not doing anything illegal, you have got nothing to worry about,” said Johnson County Sheriff Lonny Pulkrabek before Saturday’s opener when asked about what fans could expect.
Many of the actual starting times for Iowa’s home schedule have not been set yet. Saturday’s opener was an 11 a.m. kickoff. If the Hawkeyes keep winning, nearly all of their remaining home games could start at either 2:30 p.m. or 7 p.m.
Next week’s home game against Iowa State is a 2:30 p.m. start.
Pulkrabek said his department expects incidents and arrests during late kickoffs. “The 2:30 and the night games, the 7 o’clock starts, lead to more people spending the day tailgating, even at 8 or 9 in the morning and those are when we traditionally have a lot of problems,” Pulkrabek said.