Beer Sales Coming To A College Stadium Near You?
With the current and seemingly constant shift in all things NCAA Athletics, it seems more schools may be opening up the beer taps in an effort to generate revenue.
Beer pong, quarters, flaming Dr. Peppers, so many ways to party like a college kid. A lot of us imbibed during those years and some of us, dare I say a good many of us; continue to years later at tailgates on campuses across the nation.
The one thing we don’t generally do—buy beer once we get inside the stadium. There are a few notable exceptions, but for the most part once inside a major college sporting event our beverage choices remain decidedly un-adult, unless of course you brought a flask.
The NCAA rulebook might as well have been written on Capitol Hill. It’s huge—full of rules for rules, for rules about rules, and proposed rules. The one thing it’s crystal clear on, no alcohol sold at NCAA Championship events.
Now, that doesn’t mean State U can’t sell beer, wine, or Jack. State U has made a conscience choice not to. Many school administrators shy away from alcohol sales saying it deviates from the family and student atmosphere of college. Social norms, religious affiliations, or geographic and cultural issues are also cited as reasons not to allow in-game alcohol sales.
Alabama Athletic Director Bill Battle tells USAToday, “We’re in the Bible Belt; we may not be the first ones to do that. But certainly we would consider it. Whether we do it or not, I don’t know.”
To be clear, the fact you can’t buy a beer and have to sneak your liquor into the stadium is not an NCAA issue.
By and large it’s the decision of each individual institution. Some conferences, take the SEC for instance, remove the power from the school and say ‘no’ as a conference policy.
Simple economics is bound to change this. Currently, a lot of FBS athletic departments don’t turn a profit, and schools are going to have to figure out how to pay for expanded meals, true cost of attendance scholarships, better health care, and who knows what else.
The funds must come from somewhere. Why not beer and wine? Smaller schools have already experimented with this, and with good success. Cincinnati and SMU have seen six figure revenue streams where none existed previously. They also report no noticeable increase in unruly fan behavior.
The smaller urban schools are natural guinea pigs, but the land grant institutions aren’t far behind.
West Virginia added beer and $500,000 to the bottom line. One of new Texas AD Steve Patterson’s first moves was to take the lid off and allow beer and wine at select events including basketball games. We all know, and a lot of us hate this, but if it’s good enough for Texas, the rest of college football is sure to take note.
It’s 2014. College football fans have a playoff. There are networks devoted to conferences and even teams. It seems a certainty that in-arena alcohol sales are just around the bend.
Do college football fans crave this, or is it more fun to be a rebel and warm up with shot of whiskey on 3rd and 4?