Ultimately, UGA’s decision was made by President Jere Morehead on advisement from athletics and campus health and safety officials.
The Oxford Language dictionary defines a tailgate as “a social gathering at which an informal meal is served from the back of a parked vehicle, typically in the parking lot of a sports stadium.”
UGA’s release did not include any expressed prohibitions of grills, food or drink, tents or chairs.
For context, Georgia Tech also announced Tuesday that is forbidding tailgating, but the school was specific about banning chairs, grills, coolers and said “no loitering or gatherings of any size would be permitted in any on-campus area.” Tech also is encouraging fans to promptly enter the stadium with inducements of open concession stands.
Athletic Director Greg McGarity said Georgia did not expressly forbid such things, but that time and location constraints should eliminate any notion of setting up an elaborate tailgate in the traditional sense.
“The three hours cuts down on the time it takes to set up and things of that nature,” McGarity said. “I think that will take care of any traditional tailgating. It’s not like you can take your stuff out to Myers Quad and set up. There’s not enough time to be lounging around before going to the game.”
McGarity added that UGA “will monitor it like we normally do. We’ll sort of make sure things don’t get out of hand."
Based on that convoluted pronouncement, UGA joins the majority of SEC schools who aren’t permitting tailgating on campus during this altered football season, including Alabama, Auburn, Arkansas, Florida, LSU, Ole Miss, Mississippi State. Texas A&M is open to tailgating and South Carolina is “discouraging” it. Some others have not made a final decision.
Officially, the SEC was leaving it up to the respective institutions during this altered football season. The league is playing 10 conference games, which won’t start until Sept. 26. Before the coronavirus pandemic, the season was slated to start on Sept. 5.