Tipsy tailgating: OSU cracking down on underage drinking on game days

STILLWATER, Okla. – Football, beer and tailgates go hand-in-hand when you’re talking about college game days, but the lines often blur when kids under 21 want to be a part of the long-standing traditions.

On Thursday, OSU, along with a number of other law-enforcement agencies, announced a zero-tolerance alcohol policy.

The new policy states that if you’re under 21-years-old and caught drinking,  you can get in trouble with the university.

For many OSU fans, beer and football is almost synonymous.

“Tailgating is a part of college,” Reed Shudder, an OSU student, says.

However, it’s a part of college that, many students say, doesn’t need to include adult beverages.

“You don’t have to drink to enjoy a football game,” Nakeya Butler, another OSU student under 21, said.

The university agrees; it’s cracking down on those drinking under 21-years-old.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re at a tailgate, it doesn’t matter if you’re at a friend’s house, if you’re under 21, it’s not legal to drink in the State of Oklahoma,” Chuck Lester, OSU Prevention Programs grant coordinator, says.

A new partnership to reduce underage drinking will focus on three things: education, prevention and enforcement, especially on game days.

“We know that game days are days when we have a lot of underage drinking, so they are going to be present,” Lester said.

They also want to remind students, if you’re caught drinking underage on or off-campus, you can face school consequences and even be expelled.

“If you get in trouble outside of school, that has nothing to do with your academics,” Butler says.

“It won’t change anything,” Shudder said.

School officials aren’t saying when police presence will be heaviest, but they say they’ll be out watching.

OU has its own underage drinking policy that is based on three strikes.

Students initially pay a fine on the first offense, followed by community service and expulsion for other instances.