It’s no secret that West Virginia University is synonymous with partying. Whether it be a fraternity party on campus or tailgating at a Mountaineer football game, a good time is never hard to find. And after what happened last Friday, it will be even easier to find. WVU’s board of governors approved a policy that will now allow the sale of alcoholic beverages at football games. The policy was approved by a 10-5 vote and, according to athletic director Oliver Luck, is expected to control the fans’ behavior and create a safer, friendlier environment. I’m sure that’s the exact reason Luck was pushing for this policy. The estimated $1 million in annual revenue the athletic department would earn from the beer sales had nothing to do with it. Right.
If you want to implement beer sales at football games to generate more revenue, just say so. Don’t create some BS story that selling beer at games will create a safer environment. Common sense tells us just the opposite will happen. Fans that tailgate before games aren’t going to consume less alcohol outside the stadium because they are able to buy $8 beers during the game. They aren’t going to stop sneaking their flasks of liquor into the game either. Fans are still going to get just as drunk whether they are able to buy beer inside or not. Now they will just be able to continue the party inside the stadium and make the university more money in process.
Even though WVU will make a nice chunk of change off this deal, I don’t think they should’ve gotten involved with this aspect of the game. If fans are going to get drunk, and we all know they are, let them do it outside the stadium. If they happen to get caught drinking or making fools of themselves inside the stadium, so be it. I don’t think WVU should contribute to the drunken behavior of fans anymore than they need to in order to make extra money. There have been plenty of other schools that have been tempted to sell beer in general seating areas at their sporting venues, but most of them have resisted the bait.
There are some stipulations on the policy, though. No beer will be sold near student sections, beer sales will end in the third quarter, customers will be limited to two beers per transaction and fans will no longer be able to leave at halftime and come back into the stadium. These rules will somewhat regulate the alcohol consumption especially the one about fans having to stay in the stadium during halftime. Now they won’t be able to go out to their cars and refill their flasks, so they’ll just have to bring enough into the game initially or buy the overpriced beer the vendors are selling.
This new policy will affect travelling fans as well. It will be good for the ones who like to keep the party going during the game, but bad for the ones who enjoy watching football instead of a bunch of drunk, obnoxious college students yell obscenities at them because they’re wearing different colors. Terps fans will feel the effects of the policy in 2012 when they travel to Morgantown to play the Mountaineers. I don’t know if it will have any bearing on whether or not Terps fans travel with the team or not considering they already know the kind of atmosphere they are heading into. I think most of the fans will still travel with the team like they normally would, but they will definitely be more hesitant to do so.
It’s hard to say if this type of policy will be implemented on any other campuses throughout the country. I think most universities have already wrestled with the idea and haven’t made any moves and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. They will probably just continue to leave the drinking and partying up to the students and fans instead of giving them a helping hand in the act. College sporting events are supposed to be fun and like it or not, alcohol contributes to most of the fun that’s being had. And don’t get me wrong, WVU is defnitely one of the most fun schools in the country. But for their sake, let’s hope their new policy doesn’t backfire on them and have the fun turn into disaster.
With alcohol drinkers getting younger and growing in number, the need for more alcoholism treatment centers is getting more dire.