Football: University withdraws permit request for tailgating and parking for the next five football seasons

Sneha Dey, Summer Managing Editor


Northwestern withdrew its permit request for parking and tailgating events for the next five football seasons, according to a city memorandum.

The city of Evanston subleases property from the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago to operate a golf course for public recreational use, the memorandum said. In 2019, the University obtained a permit for parking and tailgating activities.

The University was seeking an MWRD permit for the 2020 through 2024 football seasons’ home games. Aldermen were set to approve the permit on July 13 before the University withdrew.

The permit withdrawal comes amid questions about whether Northwestern will hold a 2020 football season during the pandemic.

Ray O’Connell, director of public relations at Northwestern Athletics, told The Daily that the University is still considering all options.

“We’re examining every single option for the fall in terms of: with fans, with fans with limited capacity, with no fans,” said O’Connell. “We don’t have any further information.”

The Big Ten announced Thursday all fall sports will move to a conference-only schedule, but Commissioner Kevin Warren emphasized the decision is “not a fait accompli.” As of July 9, there was no football schedule on

Evanston is currently in Phase 4 of Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s five-pronged Restore Illinois plan. If the city were to remain in Phase 4 in the fall, outdoor football fields could operate at a maximum of 20 percent seating capacity for spectators. Tailgating would not be permitted.

Phase 4 guidelines also only allow recreational sports venues to operate at a maximum of 50 percent of facility capacity, a maximum of 20 percent seating capacity for spectators, and with groups of up to 50.

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