I guess you could say the champagne of beers — and other brands as well — could be coming to Champaign at a football game near you.
Illinois announced in a press release Tuesday that, following extensive vetting by the university, it will “add beer to public concession options in general seating areas at Memorial Stadium and State Farm Center beginning in the fall of 2019.” Memorial Stadium serves as the home of the football Fighting Illini.
The Illini become the sixth Big Ten school to permit in-game beer/alcohol sales in general seating areas, joining Maryland, Minnesota, Ohio State, Purdue and Rutgers. All told, more than 50 of the 129 FBS schools allow in-game alcohol sales to the general public.
The university has permitted the sale of alcoholic beverages in premium seating areas since 2008.
Beginning with the 2019 football season, beer will be available at several general stands around Memorial Stadium and the other facilities. A wider selection of beer, wine and mixed drinks will continue to be sold only in premium club/suite areas of the stadium and arena. A portion of revenues generated by the increased sales will help pay for additional police officers and other additional security measures at home football games.
“We are continually looking for ways to improve fan engagement and augment our in-game fan experience,” said UI athletic director Josh Whitman in a statement. “The opportunity to purchase beer at our events was the number one request in a postseason survey of our football ticket holders. Fans indicated beer sales would encourage their use of purchased tickets and would increase the length of time they stayed in the stands. Schools with public beer sales generally see fewer alcohol-related issues. We have spoken with several peer institutions offering beer to ensure we are following best practices for implementing this change. We have studied the issue extensively and, with the collaboration and support of our colleagues in various offices across campus, we feel now is the right time to add this new element to our game-day experience.”
Former Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Ken Zampese is joining Florida’s staff as an analyst, according to Sports Illustrated‘s Andy Benoit.
Zampese spent the 2016-17 seasons as the Bengals’ offensive coordinator after serving 13 seasons as Marvin Lewis‘s quarterbacks coach. Cincinnati went 13-18-1 in Zampese’s two seasons running the offense, which is why he spent 2018 as the Cleveland Browns’ quarterbacks coach and the first part of 2019 as the offensive coordinator for the AAF’s Atlanta Legends.
He is the son of former Chargers, Rams, Cowboys and Patriots offensive coordinator Ernie Zampese.
It is not immediately known what the younger Zampese’s role will be with the Gators, but his experience indicates he’ll work with Dan Mullen and coordinators John Hevesy and Billy Gonzales to develop Florida’s offensive plan and help Brian Johnson tutor the quarterbacks, or perhaps use his coordinator experience to self-scout Florida’s offense and scout Florida’s future opponents.
All the reporting that came out since the bombshell reports saying Connecticut is looking to leave the American Athletic Conference to rejoin the non-football Big East have confirmed that, yes, this is really happening, likely in time for the 2020-21 athletic year. The reporting has also said that UConn’s soon-to-be-homeless football program will not drop down to FCS, but instead join a different conference or try to make it as an FBS independent.
On Saturday, Stadium’s Brett McMurphy tweeted that UConn has determined it will not return to FCS, where the program competed for most of its history before joining the then-power conference Big East in 2004.
On Sunday morning, NCAA.com’s Andy Katz followed with a note saying it looked like the Huskies will try to make a go of it as an independent, writing that UConn will attempt to schedule neighbors like UMass (a fellow independent), Boston College, Syracuse and Rutgers while honoring existing contracts for home-and-homes with Duke, Illinois, NC State and others.
For a check in with someone who might actually know something, let’s see what Huskies head coach Randy Edsall has to say.
Either way, it sounds like the train is moving and we could hear something official sooner rather than later.
Steve Spurrier hasn’t coached a college football team since 2015, but that doesn’t mean the Head Ball Coach has retired.
The former Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback and national championship head coach returned to his alma mater to serve as a brand ambassador in 2016, he’s appeared in commercials, and he won a self-proclaimed championship as head coach of the Orlando Apollos of the short-lived Alliance of American Football.
Now, he’s getting into the restaurant business.
On Friday, it was reported the 74-year-old Spurrier will announce that he’s seeking a partner to “operate his new American casual dining concept.”
Details are scarce at this point–that’s probably the point of the press conference–but I’m imagining Margaritaville with footballs. We’ll find out on Monday.