For the thousands of Trojans who converge on the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for home football games, pregame festivities on campus can be nearly as important as the game itself. Game day at USC is a uniquely Trojan experience, combining fan fervor and football fever with the one-of-a-kind environment of the University Park Campus.
When the Trojans play the home opener of their 2016 season against Utah State on Sept. 10, Trojan tailgaters on USC property will find a few new guidelines in place.
“Our goal is to have a more fan-friendly environment,” said Adam Rosen, assistant vice president for cultural relations and university events.
Fun and game day
The recently introduced Trojan Family Game Day Experience, free and open to the public in Alumni Park, will be offered at every home game. The family-focused space includes games for kids, big-screen TVs tuned to college games, a variety of food and drinks (including the adult kind) and more.
To help minimize wear-and-tear on the university (not to mention the fans), on-campus tailgating will begin at 6 a.m. and close at kickoff. That’s early enough to get fans ready for those 12:30 p.m. games and allow for a full day of fun if the season brings any 7:30 p.m. start times.
And tailgaters will now be allowed to bring their own small sound systems — provided they keep the music low.
Who needs a permit?
Large tailgate parties will continue to require tailgate permits, but now medium-sized get-togethers also will need to register at gameday.usc.edu; so will anyone planning to use USC electricity. Fans can register early and reserve a guaranteed space.
Glass containers will be prohibited for safety.
To help fans adjust to changes, Rosen said, student patrol teams will provide “polite enforcement” along with educating tailgaters about the changes. Complete information about the policy changes will be emailed to season-ticket holders.
The changes were made after USC consulted with some 60 other Division I schools — including all Pac-12 schools — to learn more about peer tailgate policies related to timing, locations and fees.
The tailgate policies apply to on-campus gatherings. Similar procedures will apply within the Coliseum fences but not at Exposition Park, which is not overseen by the university. On-campus tailgating is prohibited before weekday games, such as this season’s Thursday night faceoff with Cal on Oct. 27.