Written by Alyssa Gilliam, Benedetta Luciana Sara Carnaghi and Joe Byeon. 

ITHACA, N.Y. — This year’s Cortaca Jug, an annual football matchup between rivals Ithaca College Bombers and SUNY Cortland Red Dragons, will take place at Butterfield Stadium this Saturday. More than 10,000 people are expected to attend and all the tickets have been sold out.

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If you’re a fan, you can still catch the game on TV Time Warner channel 325, Ithaca College Television (ICTV) and WICB radio.

But whether you’re one of the lucky ones with a ticket or just trying to catch the game, here is a list of seven things you should know:

What is Cortaca?
What are safety tips for the game?
What items are banned from the stadium and parking lots?
What’s the story behind the Cortaca riot?
Where can I park?
What are the rules and locations for tailgating?
I stayed in Cortland. Is there anything cool for me to do?

Did we miss your question? Email us at jalmendarez@ithaacavoice.com.

What is Cortaca?

Cortaca, a fusion word derived from Cortland and Ithaca, is an annual football game between the Ithaca College Bombers and SUNY Cortland Red Dragons. It is perhaps the most famous NCAA Division III football game in the country, as it is called by people on campus “the biggest little game in the nation.”

The tradition is that the home field on which the game is played switches between SUNY Cortland and Ithaca College every year. This year, it is happening at IC’s Butterfield Stadium at noon.

The winner of the match takes the Cortaca Jug trophy.

The two jugs don’t look anything special — they’re simply large painted jugs — but what they stand for are the rivalry between the two schools’ football teams that span more than half a century. This year is the 57th year of the officially dubbed Cortaca.

Screenshot from Ithaca College website.

What are safety tips for the game?

Andrew Cosinuk, crime prevention and community relations liaison at the college,  said Cortaca is a rare day when almost every single officer with Ithaca College’s Public Safety is working, along with support from state police, the Tompkins County Sheriff’s Office and a private security firm.

Inside the stadium, there will be more staff focusing on safety and behavior issues as well as other measures, such as securing the barricade separating the field from the fans.

He and Sergeant Tom Dunn, of IC’s Public Safety, have six tips on how you can have fun and be safe on game day.

  • Drink responsibly. Dunn said people who are drunk won’t be allowed to enter the game even with a ticket. Drinking will continue to not be allowed on campus and underage drinkers will be ticketed. 
  • If you’re a Bombers fan, then stay with your fellow Bombers fans. If you’re a Red Dragons fan, be in the Red Dragons fan group. Dunn warned that mingling of fans can create unnecessary tension between attendees.
  • Dunn discouraged wearing expensive watches, jewelry or other accessories to the game to avoid having the items stolen.
  • Don’t bring children, if possible. Police said Cortaca is a day when many alumni return and they sometimes do so with small children. Dunn said this isn’t a good idea because it can get very loud in the stadium which may be stressful for young children. 
  • Know where you are and where help is located in case there is a problem.
  • Remember that it’s the athletes’ moment. Regardless of whether the outcome is favorable, rushing out onto the field in riot ruins the moment the athletes, coaches and the entire team has worked hard to create. Simply put, stay in your respective seats.

What items are banned from the stadium and parking lots?

  • Don’t bring bags or purses. There will be security guards checking every person entering the stadium and anyone with a bag or a purse won’t be allowed to enter. Police said small purses are acceptable but anything large enough to contain alcohol or illegal substances won’t be allowed in.
  • No alcohol is permitted in the stadium and intoxicated people will not be allowed into the game.
  • Glass bottles, pets, weapons of any kind, charcoal grills and kegs are not permitted.

What’s the story behind the Cortaca riot?

While most college rivalry football games see students engage in “pre-gaming,” drinking from the early morning hours of game day and attending the game at various levels of intoxication, Cortaca recently became infamous after a 2013 riot. 

Things got ugly in Cortland after Cortland’s victory over Ithaca. Streets were trashed, a car was flipped and a man literally jumped off a roof.

Clayton Street in Cortland was flooded with somewhere between 4,000 and 6,000 intoxicated, college-aged students following SUNY Cortland’s 28-24 victory in the annual rivalry game.

About 80 people were arrested, the majority of whom were not enrolled at SUNY Cortland and were either students at Tompkins Cortland Community College, high school students or visiting from out of town for the event.

Related: After wild partying, 80 arrests during Cortaca 2013, are police ready for this year’s big game?

Where can I park?

Fortunately for commuting fans, officials said road closures will be minimal. Only roads leading to some reserved parking areas on campus will be blocked off. Public safety officers will also be on duty to direct traffic in peak traffic times. In addition, besides a handful of reserved lots, Ithaca College parking will be open to the public.

Check out a map of the campus here.

What are the rules and locations for tailgating?

As for tailgating before or during the game, Cortaca fans have a few options:

  • Ithaca College students and guests have been invited to a tailgating party at Terrace Dining Hall the morning of the Cortaca game. The tailgate will include food, indoor/outdoor tailgating activities and music by DJ Washburn. Ithaca College students can enter for free with their student IDs. An entrance fee of $5 will be charged to the general public.
  • Fans are also welcome to tailgate in various Ithaca College parking lots. Tailgating will be focused primarily around Lot F, which is occupied by the Ithaca College football boosters. While fans will need a specific pass to access that particular lot, the rest of campus parking will be on a first-come basis.
  • Some items are banned from paring lots before, during or after the game. Check out the “Banned Items” tab for more information.

I stayed in Cortland. Is there anything cool for me to do?

In Cortland, meanwhile, several events related to the game are planned and listed on the SUNY Cortland website.

According to this website, on Saturday morning, a Cortaca Jug carnival viewing party will go from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Corey Union Function Room. Guests are invited to test their skills on inflatable obstacle challenges. Tailgate non-alcoholic refreshments will be provided.

A “Pitch Perfect 2” post-game pool party and film screening is set for 5 p.m. at the pool in the Student Life Center.

The indie pop band Echosmith headlines the Cortaca Jug concert at 8 p.m. in Park Center Corey Gymnasium. Doors open at 7 p.m., with local band Free House providing the opening act.

On Sunday, a Cortaca clean-up led by the Omega Phi Beta Sorority will take place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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