Southeast Missouri State officials say the university's football tailgating format has basically remained unchanged from last year, despite what contributors to the Southeast Missourian's Fan Speak have claimed.
Southeast marketing director Charlie Wiles said the tailgating the university sets up prior to each home game -- with free food and beverages provided by various corporate sponsors -- has not changed at all.
Wiles said he believes any confusion might have arisen from the switch of the venue where Southeast students are allowed to congregate and tailgate on their own.
In recent years, students were allowed to gather on the empty lot in front of Houck Field House, but that is now a parking lot used during football games.
Instead, the parking lot in front of the Student Recreation Center South has been opened up for students who want to tailgate among themselves.
"I think students that say we've stopped or changed tailgating are reacting to the idea that they won't be able to tailgate in the lot in front of Houck Field House," Wiles said. "That's true, but we've set up the Rec Center South lot for them."
As for the official tailgating organized by Southeast, that remains intact on Bellevue in front of Houck Stadium. Tailgating begins two hours before game time and ends a short time before kickoff.
As in years past, people wishing to obtain beer that is given away must present a valid identification card. They then receive an armband and two beer tickets, although only one beer at a time is given out. More beer tickets can be obtained.
"There is nothing new this year. This is how it's always been done, at least for the last four or five years," Wiles said. "We're not trying to limit the amount of beer people have. They can get back in line and get two more tickets, but we really don't want people to just stand there and drink one after another."
Southeast's second home football game of the season will be 6 p.m. tonight against Samford.
"We haven't had any complaints at all. Tailgating has been great," Wiles said. "We have food, soda, beer, a band for every game, and this week the St. Louis Rams cheerleaders will be here."
Among the six Rams cheerleaders who will be at today's tailgating is Lyndsey Cook, a Southeast graduate and a former member of the Sundancers. The Rams cheerleaders will also be introduced prior to tonight's game.