I went to school at the University of Michigan, where there are some pretty die-hard sports fans (Go Blue!). That’s why I know all too well about the commitment our biggest rivals over at Ohio State have as sports fans. And one of their traditions, the Hineysgate, is being threatened, reports the Examiner, with OSU having purchased the land where Hineysgate takes place with plans to turn it into a dorm. Protests have popped up across the Internet, including social networking site Facebook, against Hineygate’s possible shut-down.
As a tailgating party, Hineygate is a long-standing tradition for the Buckeyes. But with OSU having purchased the nearby Lane Avenue Holiday Inn as part of a campus expansion and renovation project, there is concern that the hotel-turned-dorm will deter Hineygate and its traditions. The Holiday Inn serves as part of the stomping grounds for Hineygate as a favored venue.
The online petition, which calls for OSU to not convert the Holiday Inn into a dorm, has gained a good deal of momentum on Facebook alone. With over 1,000 members already having signed up, it’s clear that OSU students, alum and fans alike don’t want to see the Hineygate tradition die with the Lane Avenue Holiday Inn renovation. The petition requires 250 signatures, so seeing such activity on Facebook indicates the effect a social network can have on a university’s decision.
With all the drinking that goes on during Hineygate (the event is even sponsored by Budweiser), there is a direct conflict of interest for just about everybody involved. It wouldn’t be a good move for Hineygate to stick around once the hotel is converted into a dorm, and having such a large event of this nature may be undesirable by OSU given its potential proximity to undergrads. This proximity may also become an issue for Budweiser, as it could be considered encouraging of underage drinking.
But what does the school actually have to say about it? According to the Dispatch, OSU’s primary concern is the provision of living quarters for its students, possibly even hoping to have the dorm ready for occupation this fall. That would land the dorm’s opening in line with the onset of OSU’s football season, likely making the transition an uncomfortable one. After several decades of Hineysgate tradition, should the school be compelled to find a new location for either the dorms or the tailgate event? With a great deal of recognition coming from sports-relate activities, OSU will be hard pressed not to pay attention to the fans’ Facebook group one way or another.