Tailgating and college football go hand-in-hand, but fans will not be allowed to tailgate before Monday’s College Football Playoff (CFP) National Championship at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California.
Indeed, tailgating will not be allowed on-site before the game between the Georgia Bulldogs and TCU Horned Frogs, according to the parking section of the SoFi Stadium website.
The tailgating ban has drawn the ire of possibly the most powerful Bulldog fan: Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp.
Kemp, an Athens, Georgia, native and a diehard Bulldogs fan, criticized the CFP and the State of California for the tailgating ban.
In a tweet, Kemp promised that the 2025 National Championship game set to take place in Atlanta would happily welcome tailgaters. He appeared to direct his comments to California officials.
“While California may not know this, in the South, a tailgate with friends & family is the only way to prepare for a big game,” the governor wrote. “When Georgia hosts the 2025 #NationalChampionship, we’ll make sure fans are able to tailgate! Even if it’s at the state Capitol!!”
Another notable critic of the policy was the @3YearLetterman account, a parody Twitter feed of a youth football coach and Georgia fan who called on Congress to pass legislation to make tailgating a protected right for American citizens.
His response to Kemp’s tweet: “Finally, an elected official addressing the issues that we actually care about.”
Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) responded to the parody account by tweeting, “I am happy to cosponsor this important legislation.”
An email to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott asking for his reaction to the ban was not returned.
But while Gov. Kemp appeared to take a shot at California, his anger may be misdirected, as neither California, Los Angeles, Inglewood, nor SoFi Stadium is to blame for the tailgating ban.
SoFi Stadium — the home of the Los Angeles Rams and Chargers — typically allows tailgating in “designating parking lots and other areas for ticketed guests who have purchased a tailgating pass.”
The tailgating ban directive comes from the Irving, Texas-based College Football Playoff, which has not allowed tailgating at any recent championship game.
“Fans are welcome to bring their coolers and enjoy themselves in their parking spaces at SoFi Stadium on Monday night for the College Football Playoff National Championship,” CFP executive director Bill Hancock said in a statement to The Los Angeles Times.
“In addition, we are hosting the Allstate Championship Tailgate from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the SoFi Stadium parking lot. This is a free event that is open to all ticket holders. Bands from both schools will perform, as well as Kelsea Ballerini and Tiera Kennedy.
“We encourage everyone to come out early to enjoy all the activities, but for us to operate the parking operations efficiently on game day, we are not able to allow fans to set up tents and grills in the drive aisles or adjacent parking spaces because we have limited on-site parking at SoFi Stadium and want to ensure everyone has a safe and timely arrival for the game.”
Even without tailgating, it is still expected to be a thrilling game at SoFi when the Horned Frogs and Bulldogs take the field.