The familiar sight of hospitality tents dotting the University of Southern Mississippi landscape returns this weekend when the Golden Eagles open the 2009-10 football season at home against Alcorn State University.
Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. at M.M. Roberts Stadium in Hattiesburg. However, the traditional tailgating festivities will get underway well before the first whistle blows.
Historically, The District has accommodated the largest gathering of tailgaters – a mixture of Southern Miss students and fans. Located primarily in the front corner of the campus near the marquee entrance, the District has undergone some subtle changes for the new football season.
Additional space has been added adjacent to the Ogletree Alumni House as well as the lawn around Lake Byron. As has always been the policy, tailgating spots are reserved on a first-come/first-serve basis.
“This has been done in direct response to a demand from students,” said Brooks Moore, associate dean of students. “We were basically running out of room last year. We want to allow as many tents as possible so that everyone can experience the best game-day atmosphere.”
Moore said the normal rules and regulations will apply for tailgaters in The District. Chief among those are the following:
• Check-in to register tents begins at noon day before each home game.
• Tents can be no larger than 12 feet by 12 feet in size and must bear the name of the organization or individual sponsoring the tent.
• Automobiles are prohibited from the grassy and tree-lined areas.
• Grills are permitted. Open fires are prohibited
• Glass containers are prohibited.
• No animals are allowed in The District.
The same rules apply for all other tailgating areas. Southern Miss fans are free to choose various spots in and around the campus that have not already been assigned.
Eagle Club Director Dick Vogel said his office has allocated 19 parking areas for club members who may also use those locations for tailgating purposes.
“I firmly believe we have the best parking plan in the country for our fans,” said Vogel. “We’ve got parking available for even the lowest level donors in the Eagle Club. Very few universities today will provide that.
“Our fans know that they have a built-in place to tailgate if they so choose.”
Anyone with questions about tailgating should contact Moore’s office at 601.266.6028; Vogel’s office at 601.266.5299 or visit www.usm.edu/gameday
About The University of Southern Mississippi
The University of Southern Mississippi, founded in 1910, is a comprehensive doctoral and research-extensive university fulfilling its mission of being a leading university in engaging and empowering individuals to transform lives and communities. In a tradition of leadership for student development, Southern Miss is educating a 21st century work force providing intellectual capital, cultural enrichment and innovation to Mississippi and the world. Southern Miss is located in Hattiesburg, Miss., with an additional campus and teaching and research sites on the Mississippi Gulf Coast; further information is found at www.usm.edu.