WVU official: Sell suds at fooball games
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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck is advocating for the sale of beer in the stands during football games next season at Milan Puskar Stadium.
"We believe we can improve fan behavior with the controlled sale of beer inside the stadium," Luck said Friday in a prepared statement. "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."
Alcohol is served only in the club lounge and suites during Pitt games at Heinz Field, said E.J. Borghetti, senior associate athletic director at Pitt.
West Virginia currently allows alcohol only in luxury suites. Five of the eight Big East football-playing schools -- Syracuse, Louisville, South Florida, Connecticut and Cincinnati -- sell alcohol in the stands, according to their websites.
To sell alcohol in athletic venues, the West Virginia University Board of Governors would have to change a policy prohibiting the sale of "beer, wine, or other alcoholic beverages to the public general public during athletic events." Chairwoman Carolyn Long announced the proposal yesterday.
The athletic department recently completed a review of Milan Puskar Stadium's operations and wants to implement three changes: Re-entry to the stadium after halftime would no longer be allowed; smoking would be banned in the concourses and moved to designated areas; and beer would be sold in the stadium's general-seating areas.
Selling beer is the only change that needs Board of Governors approval. The others are athletic department policies.
"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," Luck said.
The university did not speculate how much money it would make by selling beer.
The Board of Governors will put the plan up for a monthlong comment period before making a decision at its next meeting in June.
Luck's plan focuses specifically on the football stadium, but if the Board of Governors' policy is changed, it would allow alcohol sales at any athletic venue, including the WVU Coliseum.
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