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News >  Idaho

Dry tailgating likely at Idaho Vandals games, at least in first half of football season

By Mary Stone Lewiston Tribune

Options to allow booze at pregame Idaho Vandals football tailgates, at least for the first half of the season, appear to be drying up.

University of Idaho officials will appeal to the State Board of Education to allow alcohol consumption in Kibbie Dome parking lots on game days when the board meets Thursday at Idaho State University in Pocatello.

But even if alcohol during tailgating gets the OK from state board members this week, final approval isn’t scheduled until October.

“This is a definite change to board policy,” state board spokesman Blake Youde said of the proposed change.

As such, Youde said, the proposal would require a second reading and vote before it could be implemented.

The board’s next regularly scheduled meeting is Oct. 19-20 at Lewis-Clark State College. Idaho’s football season begins Sept. 1 with a home game against Montana State University. The Vandals have two other home games, on Oct. 1 and Oct. 15, before the board’s next regularly scheduled meeting. There are two home games on the schedule after Oct. 20.

The university’s proposed amendment to board policy would add tailgating to a list of game-day events for which alcohol can be approved. A state board policy revised in 2011 requires schools to request permission on a year-to-year basis for exceptions to a rule banning alcohol on campus.

In the past, UI officials designated the parking lots west of the Kibbie Dome as private property on game day, effectively bypassing the no-alcohol rule. That practice came under scrutiny after the issue of alcohol consumption during campus events was reviewed by the board earlier this summer.

The board denied alcohol permits for UI’s “Fan Zone” and BSU’s “Huddle” at its June meeting after allowing a trial run for those two football game-day features last year. Some members expressed concern about keeping tighter control over alcohol consumption during campus events.

University spokeswoman Jodi Walker declined to comment on the proposal in advance of this week’s meeting.

“We’re not commenting on the proposed policy change prior to the board being able to review it at their meeting,” Walker said. “We need to give the board time and space to review the policy change request.”

She also offered no comment on whether UI has explored possibilities for tailgating elsewhere, should the policy amendment be rejected.

The board could vote to meet sooner than October if it wanted to approve the amendment in time for Idaho’s football season.

Special board meetings are sometimes scheduled, Youde said, though whether the board would do so for this issue is unknown.

“We schedule special meetings to approve legislative agendas,” he said.

This week’s meeting of the state board, which also serves as UI’s board of regents, starts Wednesday with a work session.

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