Already considered (by GQ, anyway) to have some of the more insufferable fans in all of sports, West Virginia University is adding fuel to the fire (no pun intended) by– potentially — allowing the sale of alcohol at certain sporting events.
Most notably, of course, are home football games.
During a WVU Board of Governors meeting Friday, Board Chair Carolyn Long announced the request from WVU’s athletic department that BOG Policy 18 (Section 4.1), which prohibits the sale of alcohol during WVU sporting events, be amended to “permit controlled beer sales at certain athletic event[s].”
West Virginia’s athletic department, like practically all others in the country, operates a separate entity from the university. WVU’s BOG is requesting an amendment to Policy 18 because the Milan Puskar Stadium is considered university property.
In an email release forwarded to CFT, WVU stated the proposal was “one of several changes the athletic department is considering for game day operations centered around improving security, fan behavior and public safety at Milan Puskar Stadium this fall.”
(Of course, the sale of alcohol at football games goes about as well with improving fan behavior and public safety as mixing it with painkillers)
The meeting also included two other proposed changes to West Virginia’s game day experience: nixing the stadium’s re-entry policy at halftime, and extending non-smoking areas outside stadium concourses.
A story posted on the website wvmetronews.com states seven Big East stadiums already allow alcohol sales in some capacity, whether in stands or in luxury suites. Currently, WVU allows alcohol in the stadium luxury boxes, but not to the average fan.
The Board of Governors has a 30-day comment period to change that.
The story also says university officials believe the revenue from controlled alcohol sales could reach $2 million per year.
Here is the statement by WVU athletic director Oliver Luck obtained by CFT:
“Public safety is paramount to our game-day operation of the football stadium and other athletic venues. We have an obligation to provide a safe, friendly atmosphere for Mountaineer fans and our visiting supporters. We recently completed a thorough review of all aspects of our operation at the stadium and believe three changes are appropriate.
First of all, we took a very close look at the stadium re-entry practice which currently permits, except for night games, to leave the stadium and re-enter after halftime. The recommendation is to standardize the procedure and not permit re-entry at any time. Very few stadiums across the country, and none in the Big East, allow the practice of re-entry. We believe that this will help eliminate the abuse of alcohol in the parking lots at halftime and improve fan behavior.
“Secondly, smoking is not permitted in the seating areas, aisles or restrooms and we plan to extend that to the concourses to provide a better environment for our fans. We will establish smoking areas outside of the concourses and totally remove smoking inside the facility.
“And finally, we believe we can improve fan behavior with the controlled sale of beer inside the stadium, which would require BOG approval. With responsible serving practices and proper vendor training coupled with the elimination of stadium re-entry, we can control the consumption of alcohol. Many college stadiums, including all of our counterparts in the Big East Conference, are selling beer in some capacity. We would have a management plan in place to govern the sales, promote responsible drinking, control alcohol consumption and provide a safer environment at the stadium. We also anticipate a financial benefit, which would help our self sustaining athletic department.”