Ole Miss may charge for 'Grove' spots - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Ole Miss may charge for 'Grove' spots

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OXFORD, MS (WLBT) - Ole Miss officials say this year's die hard tailgaters brought more problems than spirit, and they're trying to make sure that doesn't happen again.

To many, The Grove is as important as the game itself.

"We used to tailgate in the circle in the 50's and 60's" said Tupelo tailgater Don Hobson.

But the university is looking to change how things operate.

"There have been problems. Growing problems. This year we were overwhelmed with it" said Andrew Mullen, Executive Assistant to the Chancellor.

This year, fans showed up as early as seven a-m the day before the game to claim the prime spots in The Grove. That meant blocking roads, faculty parking spots and re-directing university resources to handle the incoming fans.

Ole Miss officials are tackling the problem head on.

"Designating spots, selling spots which would not make it so urgent that they got there at a particular time" added Mullen.

By charging fans for a place in the grove, the university hopes to restore Fridays.

"It's ridiculous" said Hobson. "As far as i'I'moncerned it's like commercializing Ballard Park and charging for picnic grounds on the weekend"

No plans have been set into stone. The university will set up a committee to look specifically at the issue.

Their main focus will be keeping the academic day on Friday academic and recollecting some of the money the pour into gamgame dayP>

"It's very expensive to handle these huge crowds" said Mullen.

The revenue will go to hiring more police officers, restoring The Grove at the end of the season and collecting some of the money private companies are now making off of game day.

"There are a lot of these tent companies that are making a lot of money" added Mullen.

Still, some students are torn.

"I think it's smart on the universities part, but i tIink it's a little unfair" said Ole Miss student Justin Boyd.

All of this is still up in the air. Ole Miss officials are able to say only one thing about the plan with certainty.

"Whatever we do, we are going to control Friday" said Mullen.

The university hopes to have that committee look at other options early in the new year.

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