Football-goers thirst for water access

The Hurricanes football team may have made a splash this first home game, but meanwhile, fans at the Sun Life Stadium thirsted for something more substantial: water.

As the university attempts to restrict hazardous activities, it has implemented policies that instead create a different kind of danger.

With temperatures averaging 82 degrees Fahrenheit in September, heat stroke and dehydration pose a real risk to anyone participating in outdoor activities. Although these afflictions can cause serious medical events, such as seizures and hallucinations, they are easily prevented with proper hydration.

Yet such a simple measure proved exceedingly difficult to carry out at yesterday’s football game.

Liquids, including water in sealed plastic bottles, are not permitted on the shuttles to Sun Life even though they are allowed in the stadium itself.

Hours before the game, students spill out onto the hot parking lot to attend tailgating parties where beverage options are usually limited to beer and more beer.

Surely the university understands the nature of the parties to which it readily shuttles its students. Why, then, has it implemented rules that force students to depend on unreliable sources for such an essential commodity?

All students drink water; not all attend games just to drink alcohol. The number of students the policy prevents from consuming additional alcohol is certainly less than the number it prevents from staying properly hydrated.

Even when the stadium gates open, beckoning students with the promise of nonalcoholic refreshment, students will once again find their options limited. They can seek out a functional drinking fountain amid the many broken ones, pay a steep $4 for a bottle of water from one of the stadium vendors, or split the cost of a refillable soft drink cup with one of their friends, and share sips from that. Of course,  it is absurd to endanger your life to save a couple of dollars, but the university should have enough of a finger on the pulse of its students to know that many under tight budgets will simply choose to suffer the heat rather than to purchase water at such a ridiculous markup.

It is possible that the university did in fact understand this inclination and did attempt to address it by placing empty cups behind each seat in the student section. Yet the purpose of these cups was not immediately obvious.

It is not the natural instinct of most hygienically conscious people to drink from cups they find lying around, and many students concluded that they were simply garbage left over from the last game.

If the cups were in fact meant for students to refill at the water fountains, and if the university intends to continue providing these cups at future football games, an extra bullet point in the Ibis News newsletter could relay this information to students so that this welcome method of hydration will not go unnoticed again.

Alternatively, the university should allow students to take unopened bottles of water on the school buses. Officials could check that the seal is still intact when students board.

Or, UM could provide students with water when they disembark. NFL policy permits one unopened 16-ounce plastic bottle of water into the stadium. Students who choose to arrive early to tailgate would be able to take matters of their health into their own hands.

The university intends to protect its students at all costs, but in attempting to dam the flow of alcohol, it has stopped access to vital sources of hydration – merely enabling students to endanger themselves in different ways.

Editorials represent the majority view of The Miami Hurricane editorial board.