After students just stayed home rather than joining in the fun and festivities of tailgating on Cooper Drive last week due to a University of Kentucky-imposed ban on alcohol, bands, DJ's, and pretty much all the kinds of fun college students are into these days, the university reversed course today. As reported by the Lexington Herald-Leader:
In an email message sent Friday morning to staff and students, President Eli Capilouto said that the ban has been lifted for this game, but the university will take other steps "to ensure a safe and secure environment so that the tradition of tailgating can continue this weekend and, we hope, going forward for the rest of the season."
What "other steps?" Well, we don't really know, probably increased security and some other less onerous and visible efforts to avoid the embarrassing fights that emerged on YouTube videos after the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers game.
There is no doubt that the university overreacted to the fights, and this crawfishing is probably smart policy if it doesn't want to continue to pile on controversy to its currently embattled football program. A ban on fun, or major parts of fun, makes UK look stilted and reactionary, and drew much condemnation from the commentariat on radio, the Internet and in print, as well as among the student body.
Don't get me wrong, UK had to take some action after those videos showed up, and they did. It was arguably way too far, but the fact that they have revisited the issue and are trying to take a more reasonable approach is as much a credit to the UK leadership as the reactionary ban was a fiasco. With that said, an error on the side of safety is at least defensible, even when it is overwrought.
Let's hope that we've seen the last of fighting among students and fans. Make cornhole, not conflict.