Changes to parking regulations that disallowed many fans from parking on campus for football gamedays have many people scrambling to adjust their tailgating and parking plans.
Students and fans voiced their opinions about the changes on social media and in conversations across campus after Saturday’s first home game against Southeast Missouri.
Junior biology major Marcus Daniels noted that the Black Student Union had some difficulties setting up its tent in the Grove.
“The new rules are a little off-putting for an organization such as our own because the logistical challenges of getting everything to the Grove in time were complicated,” Daniels said. “It took several hours of work to get everything set up because of the time spent walking back and forth between the Grove and the limited unloading zones.”
University officials have gotten feedback from disgruntled fans and students since Saturday.
“We learned a lot from this game,” said Isaac Astill, director of Parking and Transportation Services. “We know now that we are going to have to provide more shuttles.”
Dan O’Dowd, assistant athletic director for annual giving at the Ole Miss Athletic Foundation, acknowledged there were a few hiccups Saturday.
“We have asked for feedback,” O’Dowd said. “We have received many reactions and will reflect on the comments of our fans to continue to provide one of the best game day experiences in the country.”
On-campus residents and fans who hold gameday parking tags are the only people allowed to park on campus this season in order to preserve Americans with Disabilities Act compliant parking.
“The biggest change this season is that you have to have a permit to be on campus,” Astill said. “We had to maintain that we had the appropriate number of ADA stalls on campus in relation to regular stalls, and had to maintain that all of those ADA stalls met federal regulations.”
Astill said a committee made up of representatives from the Gameday Committee at athletics, parking, UPD, the Alumni Association and the Lyceum was assembled to form parking guidelines to preserve ADA access.
“We all came to the conclusion that there are not enough tow trucks in the state of Mississippi to keep people off the sidewalks if we allowed everyone on campus,” Astill said. “The city, the residents and the attendees who did not have permits did exactly what we asked.”
Both Astill and O’Dowd said they will continue monitoring feedback and make necessary changes to the new regulations before the next home game on Oct. 12 against Texas A&M.