I have nothing against beer. I was born in Milwaukee and went to school at the University of Wisconsin. I'd be disowned by my home state if I didn't like it.
For the most part, college football doesn't sell beer in stadiums. There is a reason for that. And that attitude seems to be changing. That might not be for the best.
The Daily Texan student newspaper had a nice scoop, as Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds said the school is considering selling beer at football, basketball and baseball games. First, let's address an absolutely ridiculous quote from the story:
"The thing I will say is that it’s not a money thing," Dodds said, according to the Daily Texan. "If we did do it, people would say that they they’re just doing it for the money. It’s not a money issue. It’s a do-the-right-thing issue."
Oh, brother. And free-agent athletes sign ridiculous contracts with teams because they like the school system in that city. There's nothing more insulting than this quote. Texas football games draw about 100,000 fans for every home game. Texas will have six games at Darrell K Royal Stadium in 2013. If you've ever been to a sporting event, you know beers aren't cheap. Nobody believes this isn't about money. In a sport that trips over itself to ditch longstanding rivalries and realign for a few more television dollars, everything is about money, especially something that's going to go over well with most of the fan base like beer sales that can generate seven figures of revenue.
USA Today had a 2011 poll, cited in the Daily Texan's story, that about 20 major colleges sell alcohol to general fans. The more schools that get into beer sales, the more that will follow suit. There's too much revenue not to consider it.
Louisville said it will sell $1 beers at its spring game. That will certainly draw in a few more folks. But, maybe this isn't the best road for college football to go down.
It's naive to think that college students don't drink before the game or smuggle in drinks to the stadium, or that adults do the same. And West Virginia says that selling beer has actually reduced the amount of excessive drinking incidents. Dodds referenced that to the Daily Texan:
"We talk about it constantly,” Dodds said. “If we ever did it, we’d probably start with baseball. There’s something about it that doesn’t quite feel right, but there’s people telling me that it might be safer to serve it than not serve it. It’s an issue. I guarantee you we talk about it at almost every other staff meeting."
Maybe there's something to that, no matter how counter-intuitive it seems. We've also seen plenty of alcohol-fueled incidents that make some sporting events a nightmare, especially for families. YouTube has plenty of them recorded for posterity. Giving college students more chances to drink might not be the best idea either.
Maybe Texas' plan – and the plans of the schools that will undoubtedly follow suit – will turn out well for everyone involved. But one reason some people give for preferring college football to NFL is the unruliness of some NFL crowds. Will that change if beer is sold at most college football games?
What do you think, is there any issue with making beer sales widespread at college football stadiums?
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