What you need to know before you tailgate at NCAA football games in Michigan this year

Here are the tailgate policies for Michigan universities

FILE - Michigan fans in the student section cheer during the second quarter of an NCAA college football game against Western Michigan at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Mich., on Sept. 4, 2021. The Big Ten announced Thursday, Aug. 18, 2022, that it has reached seven-year agreements with Fox, CBS and NBC to share the rights to the conference's football and basketball games. (AP Photo/Tony Ding, File) (Tony Ding, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Get ready to make some noise! College football season is finally here.

Before you make your way to the Big House or make the trip to Mount Pleasant, here are a few things to know before your tailgate.

Central Michigan University

Mascot: Chippewas

Where they play: Kelly/Shorts Stadium

Bag policy: Central Michigan has implemented one clear plastic, vinyl or PVC bag not to exceed 12″ x 6″ x 12″ and one hand bag no larger than 4.5″ x 6.5″.

Chippewa pride: The university says that any mimicking, stereotyping and misrepresentation of Native American cultures and behaviors will not be tolerated and actions can be subject for removal.

Gates: All gates to the stadium will open 90 minutes prior to kickoff. There are gates located at all four corners of the stadium.

Permitted items:

  • One clear plastic, vinyl or PVC bag not to exceed 12″ x 6″ x 12″
  • One handbag no larger than 4.5″ x 6.5″
  • Seat cushions (no pockets)
  • Seat backs (no pockets)
  • Binoculars
  • Cell phones
  • Small non-professional cameras and radios
  • Blankets and rain apparel
  • Signs

Prohibited items:

  • Non-clear bags larger than 4.5″ x 6.5″
  • Camera bag
  • Binocular case
  • Computer bag
  • Luggage
  • Backpacks
  • Fanny Packs
  • Outside food and drink, including bottled water
  • Aerosol and spray cans
  • Weapons
  • Umbrellas regardless of size
  • Animals (exception of service animals)
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Coolers, thermoses, cups, bottles, cans or flasks
  • Artificial noisemakers
  • Smoking in the stadium
  • Signs on poles that block the view of other fans or stadium advertisement

Parking: Parking lots open four hours prior to kickoff. Tailgate lots will shut down at kickoff. Parking purchased on game day is $20.

RV parking:

  • RVs are permitted to park in lot 63W.2. RV lots open four hours before kickoff.
  • The cost for an RV parking pass is $80 for a single game and $175 for a season pass.
  • The cost of overnight parking is $100 for the night prior to the game, which includes gameday parking.
Central Michigan Football Parking Map (Central Michigan University)

Tailgating/parking guidelines:

  1. Parking permits should be displayed at all times.
  2. Vehicles parked in fire lanes, at the end of aisles and in any other illegal location will be ticketed and/or towed.
  3. Vehicles must only occupy one parking space. Tailgating accessories may not be placed in any designated parking space as space can be very limited.
  4. Tailgating is not permitted during the game, at halftime or after the game.
  5. Michigan laws pertaining to the possession, consumption and distribution of alcohol and controlled substances will be enforced. Tailgating may not include kegs or mass quantities of alcohol. Glass containers are not permitted in the tailgating area.
  6. Large trucks (e.g., U-Haul-type, over 2-1/2 tons, etc.), vehicles with trailers and buses are not permitted in the tailgating area without prior written Athletic Department approval.
  7. Large grills pulled on their own wheels by vehicles are not permitted in the tailgating area without prior written Athletic Department approval.

Click here for more information.

Central Michigan (3) in action vs Western Michigan at Kelly/Shorts Stadium. Mount Pleasant, MI 10/1/2016 CREDIT: David E. Klutho (Photo by David E. Klutho /Sports Illustrated/Getty Images)

Eastern Michigan University

Mascot: Eagles

Where they play: Rynearson Stadium


  • Parking is free for EMU Students in lot #5. All other labeled lots, with the exception of the VIP Lot, are general lots open to all faculty, staff and fans. The cost of parking is $5 cash within the timeframe of parking lots opening.
  • Vehicles that take up more than two spaces are permitted with the purchase of a game day parking pass of $20.
  • Prior approval must be given in writing for oversized vehicles, such as buses and U-Hauls, to be present in designated tailgate areas.

Tailgating: Tailgating is authorized only in designated locations near the EMU Convocation Center, Rynearson Stadium and athletic facilities.

Below is a map of available parking lots.

Eastern Michigan tailgating map (Eastern Michigan University)
  • Tailgating hours are three hours prior to scheduled kick-off for EMU home football games.
  • Grills are permitted, provided guests do so only in the same space occupied by their vehicle.
  • Tents must not exceed 10′ x 10′ unless approval is given by EMU Athletics.
  • Tents must be placed directly behind vehicles and not impede the flow of pedestrians or vehicles.

Click here for more information.

Eastern Michigan University running back Shaq Vann carries the ball in the first half of an NCAA college football game against the University of Wyoming on Saturday, Sept. 12, 2015, in Laramie, Wyo. (AP Photo/Blaine McCartney) (Associated Press)

Michigan State University

Mascot: Spartans

Where they play: Spartan Stadium


  • Tailgating lots will now open on campus at 7 a.m. for noon-4 p.m. kickoffs, and at 11 a.m. for night games. These times apply only to Saturday games. Previously, lots opened at 7 a.m. for noon kickoffs, 9 a.m. for 3:30 p.m./4 p.m. kickoffs, and 1 p.m. for night games. Click here for tailgate packages.
  • Tailgating is permitted in all public parking areas on campus.
  • No tents larger than 10′ x 10′.
  • No trailers of any type including pig roasters allowed.
  • No kegs or other common source containers allowed.
  • No couches or upholstered furniture allowed.


  • All other public game day parking for cars will be available for $20.
  • Recreational vehicle parking is available in lot 97 behind the Engineering Research Building and the cost is $60 per RV.
  • Charter bus parking is $100.
  • Oversized trucks must park in RV parking.
Michigan State Parking Map (Michigan State University)

Bag policy:

The only bags, packages or containers permitted to be carried by fans as they enter the stadium include the following: Bag that is clear plastic, vinyl, or PVC and does not exceed 12″ x 6″ x 12″, one-gallon clear plastic freezer bag (Ziploc bag or similar) or small clutch bag, camera and binocular cases, not exceeding 4.5″ x 6.5″, with or without a handle or strap.

Permitted items:

  • Binoculars without the case
  • Seat cushions without backs or zippered sections that cannot be used as a bag (see examples)
  • Pagers and cell phones
  • Small cameras and radios
  • Blankets and rain apparel
  • One factory sealed 20-oz. bottled water per person

Prohibited items:

  • Weapons
  • Containers of any kind, including aerosol cans and spray cans
  • Umbrellas, flags and flagpoles
  • Alcoholic beverages and food of any kind
  • Coolers, thermoses, cups, bottles, cans, flasks and open bottled water
  • Camcorders, tripods and selfie-sticks
  • Strollers
  • Non-approved chair backs
  • Projectiles
  • Other potentially dangerous objects

Click here for more information.

Michigan State head coach Mel Tucker wears shorts on the sidelines during an NCAA college football game against Miami on Saturday, Sept 18, 2021, in Miami Gardens, Fla. No. 17 Michigan State has already doubled its win total from coach Mel Tucker’s debut season, entering Saturday night’s home game against Western Kentucky. And even though college football coaches usually wear slacks, even on steamy Saturdays, Tucker does not hesitate to do his own thing and wear shorts as he did in Miami or a hip hoodie as he did last week at home against Nebraska. (AP Photo/Michael Reaves) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

University of Michigan

Mascot: Wolverines

Where they play: Big House

Bag policy:

All bags (including purses and fanny packs) are prohibited from being carried into Michigan Stadium. Medical exceptions will be addressed individually at the gates. Those requiring necessary items (e.g., diapers for a baby, medical prescriptions, etc.) are encouraged to carry them into the stadium in a clear plastic bag.

Permitted items:

  • Foam seat pads
  • Small non-pocket seat cushions without storage slots
  • Binoculars without cases
  • Cell phones and pagers
  • Small cameras and radios
  • Blankets and rain apparel
  • Walking canes

Prohibited items:

  • All bags (including purses, fanny packs, etc.)
  • All bottles (including all types of water bottles)
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Aerosol and spray cans
  • Animals (except service animals for persons with a disability)
  • Flags and flagpoles
  • Containers of any kind (including coolers, thermoses, cups, cans and flasks)
  • Flags and flagpoles
  • Food of any kind
  • Irritants
  • Projectiles (including footballs, Frisbees and beach balls)
  • Seat cushions containing any type of metal or those with pockets, storage slots, seat backs, armrests or attachments of any kind
  • Strollers
  • Video camera, tripods and selfie sticks
  • Umbrellas
  • Weapons
  • Any other item that may obstruct or impair the view or enjoyment of another attendee


  • Football parking lots open between 6 a.m. and noon on game days.
  • A limited number of single-game parking passes for persons needing accessible parking will be available in the Green Lot on game day on a first-come, first-serve basis and requires a state-issued Disability Parking Placard or license plate.
  • Access to game day/cash sales parking is available on a weather permitting basis at the University of Michigan Golf Course from three locations: State Street, Stadium Boulevard/Green Lot and Main Street.
  • Game day/cash sales parking is also available at Pioneer High School from Main Street, Ann Arbor Golf and Outing from Stadium Boulevard, Maize Lot from State Street just south of the Varsity Tennis Center and the University of Michigan Driving Range from South Main Street.
  • Vehicles and RVs should vacate all lots two hours after the game.
  • RV passes allow RVs four spaces.

Related: RV parking for Michigan football games at Pioneer High School against city fire code, officials say


  • All tailgaters must stay off all playable golf surfaces.
  • Flags, balloons and signs are to not be displayed more than 20 feet above parking lot surfaces.

READ: Michigan football: Players to watch ahead of kickoff

Click here for more information.

FILE - In this Oct. 13, 2018, file photo, fans cheer as the Michigan team takes the field at Michigan Stadium for an NCAA college football game against Wisconsin in Ann Arbor, Mich. The University of Michigan says fewer fans, if any, will attend games at The Big House if the Wolverines play college football games this year. The athletic department says a final decision will be made after conferring with medical experts, the schools leadership and the Big Ten Conference, along with government officials and agencies. (AP Photo/Tony Ding, File) (Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Western Michigan University

Mascot: Broncos

Where they play: Waldo Stadium


  • Tailgating is permitted from four hours prior to kickoff to the start of the game and for one hour after the game.
  • Tailgating is not permitted during the game or at half time.
  • Stand-alone tents must be behind vehicle and cannot impede traffic flow.
  • No glass containers.
  • No kegs, half barrels, pony kegs or other common alcohol containers.


  • One space per vehicle and costs $10 per vehicle.
  • RVs may be required to purchase multiple parking spaces in a designated area.

Below is a map of the tailgating and parking lots on campus.

Click here for more information.

Offensive lineman Chukwuma Okorafor is seen during the Western Michigan University NFL Pro Day football drills, Wednesday, March 21, 2018, in Kalamazoo, Mich. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio) (Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

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About the Author:

Elizabeth Washington is a Digital News Editor and has been with Local 4 News since April 2022.