Last week West Virginia University athletics director Oliver Luck proposed that the sale of beer be permitted at Milan Puskar Stadium. At first glance, that proposal would seem to be a head scratcher given the reputation the WVU fan base already has for being a bunch of unruly hooligans. While the sale of alcohol has never been permitted in the stadium, it is freely consumed in the parking lots before and after football games, and yes, inside the stadium by those who sneak past security with a flask or small bottle.
Of course there have been reverberations from the morally outraged and quizzical responses by others less outraged, but unsure of the benefit of selling beer at Mountaineer football games. The obvious benefit is $$$ and probably lots of it. It would be hard to find any other benefit other than money, but Luck has made a few points to consider.
The beer sales have been termed “controlled beer sales” so its not like football games will become all you can drink outings. Several other Big East venues serve beer and control sales with restrictions like just one beer purchase per person at a time or a similar limit. Most venues end sales either during, or after the third quarter. Anyone that appears to have already been over served will not be able to purchase beer. Luck also mentioned that the practice of readmitting fans after halftime would likely end.
The WVU Board of Governors will have to approve the sale of beer and its chair, Carolyn Long, has not had much to say except that if beer sales are approved, the policies at Mountaineer Field will be more conservative than other Big East Schools. That should alleviate most concerns since any policy more conservative than the aforementioned restrictions would seem to be pretty conservative.
As the discussion has evolved, there are many ways to look at the sale of beer at Mountaineer games as a non-issue. Most students aren’t even 21 and won’t be allowed to purchase beer. The lines for beer will likely be a deterrent for many fans. There is no way to know what a beer will cost, but the guess is the price will keep even more people from buying beer.
Beer sales or not, the guess here is that little will change at the football games. Fans will still drink at their tailgates and fans will still take what they can into the game. There will still be fans that can’t handle their alcohol and there will be those who can. If anything, maybe having the ability to buy beer inside the stadium will keep a few from sneaking liquor into the game which may keep them from being a liquored up nuisance.
Probably not, but maybe.