December 2, 2021

Prepping for Cortaca

Increased police patrols, on-campus activities planned

Joe McIntyre/staff photographer

SUNY Cortland Interfaith Crew President Thomas Keely, left and Vice President Alex Rheaume prepare Wednesday for an event called “Cortaca Mug,” to be held tonight at the Interfaith Church on Calvert Street in Cortland. The event is held on Cortaca Jug weekend, when SUNY Cortland plays rival Ithaca College in football.

Hotels in Cortland are nearing capacity; bars and restaurants are adding staff.

Expect some tail-gating, increased police presence and maybe some traffic around entrances to SUNY Cortland’s west campus. It’s the Cortaca Jug weekend.

Juniors Mike Miller and Brian Monteleone have already begun getting ready for Saturday’s big game. The 60th annual game against rival Ithaca College, which won the game last year, starts at noon at Saturday. The men started with getting their homework done ahead of time.

It also means getting enough sleep to get up around 8 a.m. Saturday.

“Friday you go to class and then find a house to chill at,” Monteleone said.

The men, both over 21, said they’ll eat a large breakfast Saturday before heading out to tailgate, sporting Cortland Tshirts, around 10:30 a.m. After the game, they plan to go out whether to a house party, the bars or both.

“Win or lose, we booze,” Monteleone said.

Bring on the games

That’s not quite what the college had in mind. The college has had events all week to show students the risks of alcohol and drugs, and has provided non-alcholic activities, including a psychic reading on Thursday and Open Mic Night on Tuesday.

Starting at 7 p.m. today, students can play Cortaca trivia, go rock climbing or go to Cortaca Mug, where there will be music and food. They can participate in grocery bingo and other activities Saturday, besides the game.

“It’s not just one big party, so a lot of our events are aimed at diminishing that idea,” said college spokesman Fred Pierce said.

On-campus students can have one guest, Pierce said, for whom the student is responsible. The guest must go through a checkin process and wear a wristband the whole weekend.

“We don’t want a lot of people coming to Cortaca that don’t have any connection with it,” Pierce said.

Police presence increased

Cortland police have been preparing for Cortaca since the end of last year’s game, said Lt. David Guerrera.

“There’s going to be a strong presence starting Friday afternoon right into Sunday,” he said.

The number of police on patrol will double with the help of about 10 state troopers, Guerrera said. The Cortland County sheriff’s office also has officers on duty to assist.

Police spoke to off-campus students early in the semester, he said.

“We send that message and let them know that we will be proactive and not let parties get to big,” Guerrera said. “Normally, we allow small house parties to occur as long as there’s no underage people, but this weekend we suggest they don’t do it because it can get out of hand.”

Police will also use undercover officers to check on underage drinking.

The number of people in surrounding hotels has also been checked to get an idea of how many people are coming for the game. Guerrera said a lot of the hotels are nearing capacity.

Traffic and parking

University police are bringing in officers from other SUNY colleges to help with traffic flow, parking, tailgating and patrolling the stadium, said SUNY Cortland police Lt. Frank Cullens.

He said state police will mainly be inside the stadium, bringing the total to about 55 officers.

He said tailgating is allowed, but police will patrol. No alcohol or drugs are allowed in the game and bags will be checked. Noone will be allowed on the field before, during or after the game.

Hanging out downtown?

Brix Pubaria owner Robby Petrella said he expects a lot people coming to Brix to watch the game, drink and eat.

“It’s a time of celebration, it’s tradition, so it brings out a lot of activity,” he said. “Our sit-down dining sales take a slight dip, but it’s compensated by the express and alcohol sales.”

Petrella said a lot of people order pizza, so Petrella put an extra pizza chef on during every shift and added bartenders and delivery drivers.

Petrella also has more security: “We might have another one at 11 a.m. and not just beginning at 1 p.m.”