Point/Counter: Should Beer Be Sold At Games?

Posted Jul 2, 2011

West Virginia is choosing to start selling beer at games, is this a good idea or a bad one? Jacob Thorpe and Mike Vernon discuss both sides.


Should Beer Be Sold At Games?

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Jacob ThorpeBad Idea
Follow me on Twitter: @jacobt1991

The administrators at West Virginia University are certainly taking steps to ensure that their decision to sell beer during football and basketball games goes off without a hitch. Patrons can only buy two beers at a time, all must present a valid ID and there will be increased security. To limit the number of fans driving home drunk, the school will stop selling beer during the third quarter.

Yep, it seems like the Mountaineer administration has got all of its bases covered.

But aren't all of these steps a tacit admission that selling beer will cause an awful lot of problems? Increased security means the school expects more unruly fans, and expects to be throwing more people out games. This from a school whose fans made the papers last year for throwing objects on the court at a basketball game giving a Pittsburgh assistant -- as well as the school's public image -- a black eye.

Stopping sales in the third quarter is a nice touch, but it's not going to be enough time to let the thirstier fans sober up. The roads away from the stadium after a football game are already full of semi-lost drivers trying uncomfortably to find their way back to the freeway. Adding a bunch of drunk drivers will just be throwing a match on the powder keg.

There will be more accidents, injuries and even deaths, guaranteed. Is the extra revenue really worth it? The fact is that in the United States we are fortunate enough to have both college and professional sports. The pros allow a place where people can go watch adults play the game, and get hammered while they do it. College athletics has always been about a more family-friendly atmosphere. The athletes are still kids, and it's fun for parents to bring their children to their alma maters and root for the home team.

Both are fun in their own, unique way. There's no reason to try and merge the two. If even one person loses their life because of this decision, it obviously won't be worth it.

Mike VernonGood Idea
Follow me on Twitter: @m_vernon

Whether you like it or not, college football has become of a world of haves and have-nots. Schools like Texas and Alabama have everything they need to compete for their conference title and the national title year after year. Other schools, stuck in the middle of the pack, are left struggling to win games and get fans in the seats on a consistent basis. There are many factors that cause the rift between the top and the middle, prestige, coaching, scouting, quality of players, and more.

In the end, unfortunately, it ends up all boiling down to one major issue, one major difference between the few top dogs and the many dogs struggling to get their one bone — money.

There is one option they do have that can help. It doesn't end with this change, but it's, at the very least, a start. They let beer be sold at their games.

Even though some people would like to think otherwise, beer has become a major part of college football games for college students. Often times, students will choose to stay at their beer-soaked tailgate rather than go to the game itself. Even more likely, students will leave games at halftime to go continue their pre-game drinking — not exactly conducive fan behavior for building a big time college football program. In Morgantown, WV., they're far ahead of the curve. One of the more fortunate programs in college football, West Virginia, recently passed an amendment to proposition 18 — allowing beer to be sold in their stadium.

The change to the policy come with plenty of rules, no beer can be sold in the student sections, a valid I.D. is required, and only two beers can be purchased at a time. Instead of sitting back and doing nothing, West Virginia is trying to be proactive. A supporter of the amendment, the WVU Police Chief believes selling beer in the stadium will help eliminate binge drinking. The reasoning behind his support: students often binge drink before games, knowing they won't be able to drink in the stadium.

They've accepted that the students will drink and they're trying to do something about controlling the amount they drink. Along with hoping this will help student safety, the plan is awful lucrative. Athletic Director Oliver Luck expects the new rules to bring in an added $500,000 to $1.2 million  — and that's for a school that already sells out its games.

Imagine the dollars that a similar change at a school with lesser fan support could bring in. More money means better facilities, recruiting opportunities, and fan amenities, which could in-turn, bring even more fans to the games. A louder, rowdier stadium will only help teams win games, helping the stadiums remain full. In the end, an array of different aspects of the game can turn a college football program from a hungry dog, to an award winning one.

It's only a start, a potential spark perhaps, but selling alcohol at college football games is a way to commence turning things around at programs that need it most.

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