Hospitals around Lexington, Kentucky have seen a recent spike in alcohol related visits to their emergency rooms. While most Emergency Room physicians equate the rise to the return of college students after winter break, University of Kentucky athletic officials have a different idea as to the cause.
Mark Stoops was hired last semester as the new head football coach at UK, and while this was three months ago, the effects of his hire are now coming to fruition in the from of binge drinking.
“Let’s Get Stoopid” themed parties are taking place every weekend. Attendees ring from the laid-back-graduate-student-who-enjoys-woodworking-on-the-weekends, to the stereotypical-college-freshman-who-says-she-is-poor-and-has-to-eat-Ramen-but-whose-parents-bought-her-a car-for-graduating-high-school. Suffice to say, the parties are attracting a wide range of partygoers. The purpose of said parties is, as stated in the title, to get “stoopid”, or put frankly: belligerently drunk to the point of possible hospitalization.
This has many outsiders wondering what the appeal to these parties is. With expensive E.R. visit charges, extreme hangovers, not to mention possible death, it is hard to discern the allure of “Let’s Get Stoopid” parties.
To gain insight about the mentality one must have in attending a “Let’s Get Stoopid” party, I interview a recent attendee; or, as he is now referring to himself, a member of “Marky-Mark and the Stoopid Bunch”. When asked why one attends these parties, he said: “It’s not to try and talk to a cute girl over obnoxiously loud music while pretending to be less drunk than you really are, but it’s rather to live in the now. It’s to experience the effects of heavy alcohol consumption free from the social stigmas that prevent everyone from being ‘that guy’. Rather, it’s to embrace the child-like naïveté exhibited in ‘that guy’. To not worry about the consequences. To become ‘that guy’.” The individual then noted that “they [the parties] don’t even have music, just the sound of everyone shouting about what they are experiencing.”
These phenomena seem to be not like your average college parties at all, but rather like religious experiences. This is possibly why they draw such a wide range of people.
But their popularity is the cause of concern for university athletic officials. Currently, on average, there are 3 “Let’s Get Stoopid” themed parties per week, resulting in approximately 20 hospitalizations due to alcohol intoxication at these parties. And this is all while it is still basketball season. Football season is a long 5 months away, and in the minds of most UK students’, a whole year away.
The current popularity of these parties compounded with the actual concurrence of football season is a combination that most university athletic officials do not want to think about. When I asked the University of Kentucky Athletics Office about the “Let’s Get Stoopid” parties, the spokesperson said “we [the University of Kentucky Athletics Office] do not condone underage drinking, nor binge drinking of any kind.” She went on to say: “We’re aware that our decisions affect the students here at UK, but when hiring the new coach, we didn’t take into account the repercussions that seem to have stemmed from the hiring of Mark Stoops… I don’t think anyone could have predicted this outcome.”
It is unlikely that Mark Stoops will be fired before his first season as head coach begins, and it is likely that “Let’s Get Stoopid” parties are here to stay.
by Jake Houghton