As Rutgers tailgate gets rowdy, AD Hobbs chugs beer on stage
Video courtesy of New Brunswick Today
NEW BRUNSWICK — Rutgers Athletic Director Patrick Hobbs' attempt to calm a university sanctioned tailgate party ended with Hobbs' joining the crowd for a cold one from the stage.
In a video first posted by the news site New Brunswick Today, Hobbs is on a stage in front of students at a tailgate event called "The Alley" not far from High Point Solutions Stadium.
"I can't drink that right now," Hobbs says at the start of the video, and then, "Hold on, hold on," as a chant of "Rut-gers" starts in the crowd.
The chant grows louder as Hobbs reaches down to a woman who hands him a beer can. The crowd gets even noisier as Hobbs pops open the beer, which overflows, and he asked the crowd to "hold on" again.
"If they card me I'm OK. Go RU!" Hobbs says as he takes a drink.
In a statement, Hobbs said “My first concern is always the safety and well-being of our students. Anyone who was at The Alley on Saturday knows that I was acting to ensure that. I regret that any action on my part could be interpreted as promoting the use of alcohol. That was certainly not my intention.”
Hobbs told NJ Advance Media that when Hobbs got to the tailgate Rutgers Police were issuing tickets and he thought the crowd was starting to get out of control. Witnesses told the news organization he jumped on stage and asked the crowd to cheer for police.
The student tailgates in the gravel lot across from the Werblin Recreation Center on the Busch campus were intended to be “a fun, exciting place where students can get together on game day. There was a need to address the tailgating options for our students and we are excited to provide them with this opportunity," Hobbs said in a statement about the program before the season started.
New football coach Chris Ash endorsed the tailgate and called student involvement in games "a critical element to the energy in the stadium and we look forward to them bringing that passion on gameday.”
Following Saturday's win over New Mexico, the first comment Ash made at his post-game press conference was to thank students for coming.
"They actually helped us regain momentum in the game, create a lot of energy for the football team and I can't thank them enough," he said at the Press conference.
On Tuesday, Rutgers Athletics announced via a tweet that The Alley tailgating program was canceled due to "safety concerns."
Rutgers has not yet commented on what might replace The Alley or the specific activity that caused concern.
Hobbs replaced Julie Hermann as Rutgers Athletic Director last November after serving as an independent ethics ombudsman to the Office of the Governor. A Dean Emeritus of the Seton Hall University School of Law he has also led the athletics program at Seton Hall University.
Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com.