It's probably all three. The Capital Times (aka the Crap Times, or the Communist Times, as one state supreme court justice I met once said) led off today's paper with a story about the increasing tardiness of the UW student section. They seem to blame the general party atmosphere of a "Badger football Saturday," whatever that means.
I have my own theories:
The main one is (A) No booze at the game combined with an 11 am start time. As the article mentioned, people are having fun drinking in the mid-morning hours before the game. (I've gotten very close to doing beer bongs this fall but the germaphobe keeps taking over). What I assume most logical students would like to do on a fine fall Saturday is to keep drinking through the game, keep their drunkenness at a moderate level through the afternoon (maybe taking a nap with a beer in hand), and then ratcheting it up a notch at night when it's time to go look for Rachel Bilson look-a-likes. But as we all should know--there's no booze at the game. So you sit in the sun for three hours, getting a farmer tan and drying out. Though hopefully Bucky wins and you're pleased about that, you're sunburned and starting to get hung over. You get back to your place and the people who stayed there during the game are still rocking, while you just want to take a nap and lie down. It's hard out there for an underage UW student.
Yes, I know people sneak booze into the game via all sorts of dastardly methods. But lets get serious. A UW student who's worrying about sobering up during a football game has such a hardened tolerance that a flask full of SoCo is not going to do the job for three hours, especially when you're being generous and spreading it around, or dosing it down with Coke. So yes, I believe the fear of ruining your Saturday by sobering up in the middle of the day is partly to blame. Folks stay outside for as long as possible, spiking their BAC while they calculate where it'll be in three hours. Or head back to the party when they can feel the sobriety coming on.
(B) Too much "security". While I love the student section (especially their profanity--eat it, Herbstreit), the administration continues to do everything it can to make sitting there feel more like a short visit to a police state. Way more guards, more partitions, not letting random people from other sections walk through the top of it. I remember thinking that not being able to get a plastic cup in the student section was drastic. They've already gated it off, segregating them from the rest of the stadium. Next the barriers will morph into full size fences, and then eventually they'll top it off into a legitimate cage. It'll end up looking like one of those quasi-prisons that they make visiting fans sit in at Greek and Italian soccer games. It might be worth it if they let them set off flares.
The alleged security creates colossal lines and delays for students attempting to get into the stadium, which further encourages students to get their late, so they can avoid the rush.
Here are my suggestions:
(1) Ease up on the security a bit. At the very least, devote more ticket takers to student entrances, and try to speed the security portions up a bit. Try eliminating the whole "ticket vouchers that you trade in for real tickets right as you're supposed to enter" thing. Not sure what the point of that is, and it's got to slow down the process. Note to Chance' Wiley: terrorists are not going to attack via the student section.
(2) More night games. I understand that here we are at the mercy of the sports entertainment oligarchy, but man those games are fun. Remember the Michigan game last year? Or the '01 Michigan game with the punt shenanigans at the end? Those games were bumping. Kids will still be late, but a lot fewer, and after a full afternoon of leisure, any worries about sobriety will have greatly diminished. When you were in college, you may have gotten up before 11, but were you so drunk before 11 that you could stay under the influence until 2:30? I doubt it. I understand this is out of our hands though. Blame the television gods.
I don't mean to renege, but I'll have to wait until after this weekend's games to get back to the UW basketball discussion. Lo siento.