(The Center Square) — The latest bid to keep Badger fans from tailgating in Madison this football season is coming from Madison’s mayor.
Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway joined mayors in most other Big Ten university towns on Tuesday in writing a letter to the Big Ten conference, asking for help.
“We know the history of football games within our cities. They generate a lot of activity, social gatherings and the consumption of alcohol. These activities within our communities have also been associated with an increased spread of COVID-19,” the mayors’ letter states.
The letter then requests that the Big Ten schedule only early games, and give the cities a heads-up for future schedule changes so local leaders can control crowds and tailgates.
“We also request that the Big Ten Conference release game times and schedules as early as possible and make it a priority to host less or no games that take place in the evening or late afternoon, as these start times are associated with increased activity,” the mayors wrote.
The mayors are also asking the Big Ten to consider community coronavirus numbers when looking at this year’s football schedule, and not just look at team positivity rates.
“Please include the communities where you will be holding games in your conversations,” the letter states. “We ask that you work with local and county health officials in these communities to define a population positivity rate, where hosting a football game that would bring increased activity into the community is no longer safe to do.”
The letter is signed by the mayors of East Lansing, and Lansing, Mich., the mayor of College Park, Md., the mayor of State College, Pa., the mayor of Ann Arbor, Mich., the mayor of Evanston, Ill., the mayor of West Lafayette, Ind., the mayor of Minneapolis, Minn., the mayor of Bloomington, Ind., the mayor of Columbus, Ohio, and the mayor of Iowa City, Iowa.
The mayors of Lincoln, Neb., Champaign-Urbana, lll., and New Brunswick, N.J. didn’t sign the letter.
The letter is the latest attempt by Rhodes-Conway and Madison leaders to discourage UW fans from coming to Madison for game days.
UW-Madison has banned fans from Camp Randall Stadium this fall, and has promised to close campus on game days.
Mayor Rhodes-Conway has said the city will crack down on tailgates and parties off campus. The city of Madison also will enforce its limit on crowds at bars and restaurants.
Columbus, Ohio, home of The Ohio State Buckeyes, is one of the great tailgating cities in America. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, most mayors of Big Ten cities are asking the conference to help curtail tailgaters this year.
Benjamin Yount is a Center Square Correspondent