Mixed Reactions to ‘Nova Tailgate



Molly Borgese

Pike Lot overflowed on Saturday, September 19 three hours prior to a noon kick off as parents and students were invited by the university to celebrate the annual Parents’ Weekend.  Villanova, in one of its rare instances, looked and felt like a traditional college campus with proper tailgating and camaraderie for our beloved football team. 

Tailgating festivities were welcomed by the university to begin at nine and finish at noon.  Hundreds of parents and students gathered, grilled and celebrated the traditions of Villanova Football prior to kickoff, in what many felt like was an appropriate, respectful and calm manner.  Music was civilized and was heard at a reasonable volume.  

All rules of the university were obeyed.  Students ages 21 and older enjoyed alcohol with their parents, many celebrating the beginning of their final year at the university. 

University Student Body Vice President, Patrick Long commented “Students and parents had a great time at the tailgate.  The atmosphere was pretty calm and controlled.  A nice time was had by all.”

Yet confusion later ensued shortly after noon as students and parents were ushered out of Pike Lot.  Several Radnor Police Officers were observed on motorcycles, demanding parents and students to promptly clean up, break down and stow their tables/shelters/coolers/chairs etc. then exit the parking lot. 

Many university parents felt extremely disrespected and disturbed by the behavior of Radnor Police.  One senior parent  said “I certainly understand that Villanova wanted everyone to have a ‘good’ time while being safe and courteous. What I don’t understand is the manner in which the Tailgate Party was terminated. We were not made aware of any time limits on the Tailgate Activity. No one informed us that we would have to leave the parking lot at any particular time. I felt as though I was a criminal because I did not pack up quickly enough.”

Prior to Radnor Police involvement, the Villanova University Department of Public Safety calmly and respectfully walked through the tailgate politely around noon asking students and parents to clean up and enter the stadium for the kickoff. 

According to University Director of Public Safety, David Tedjeske said the “Hours for tailgating in the Pike Lot have always been three hours prior to kickoff and are posted in signage in the lot as well as on the Athletics’ website. Radnor Police assisted in clearing the lot shortly after kickoff as they normally do.” 

Yet, many tailgaters including both parents and students were unaware of the policies of the tailgate and did not observe any signage in the lots.  Information regarding tailgating policies at Villanova is not mentioned in the University Student Handbook, nor any official document on the Athletics Homepage.  

Yet, other parents enjoyed pleasurable experiences on campus prior to the football game.  Parents and university alumni Patty ‘80 and Jim ‘79 Esposito celebrated their 10th consecutive Parents’ Weekend on campus, spanning three children, Connor ‘10, Emily ‘13, and Reilly ‘16.  They stated “I am so pleased to report that this past weekend was the most ‘Parent Friendly’ Tailgate environment we have experienced.  

We appreciate the monumental task it is to get tailgating cars in the Pike Lot at an early hour for a noon game.”

Looking ahead, tailgates will continue on campus, hopefully ushering a more positive response by all participants. 

As part of the team’s campaign platform, Vice President Patrick Long along with Student Body President Kyle Lubiejewski hope to promote student unity and improve community relations, while also increasing the number of tailgates for university football games.  Long stated “I look forward to our second campus tailgate on Thursday, September 24 before we play UPENN.”

The university Student Government Association (SGA) promotes all students to attend the tailgate beginning at 5 p.m. and ending at 7 p.m.  

University Athletics and SGA will be providing entertainment as well as free food and drinks. In addition, when entering the game through the student entrance, university students will receive bonus points for the basketball ticket lottery.

Additionally, freshmen students will participate in the traditional “Freshman Run” prior to kick off against the University of Pennsylvania Quakers.