Beer Sales Passes BoG

As part of its meeting in Charleston on Friday morning, the West Virginia University Board of Governors voted to approve amendments to its Policy 18, clearing the way for beer to be sold at football games at Milan Puskar Stadium this fall.

The Board voted in favor of the proposal, initiated by athletic director Oliver Luck, by a margin of 10 votes in favor and five against. Two members of the 17-member BoG abstained.

The decision came in spite of an overwhelmingly negative series of comments offered up during what was a 30-day period for the BoG to hear the public's opinion on the matter.

An unofficial count showed that roughly 72 percent of the more than 320 comments the Board received on the issue were opposed to selling beer at Mountaineer athletic events.

But Luck successfully convinced the members of the BoG that a proposal he repeatedly admitted was "counter-intuitive" would actually serve to improve behavior at home football games (which he called "increasingly coarse") by offering at least limited control of fans' alcohol consumption.

The sale of beer at football games is to be coupled with a measure that will end West Virginia's long-standing practice of issuing "pass outs" (more formally known as "re-entry vouchers").

Luck said it was his belief that some fans were leaving games at halftime to binge drink in the tailgating areas before returning -- and often sneaking more alcohol in the stadium with them.

By ending the re-entry practice and offering beer sales inside the stadium, Luck hopes to make an improved atmosphere at football games while adding somewhere between $800,000 and $1.3 million per year to the WVU athletic department's coffers.

Luck had previously said West Virginia's concessionaire, Sodexo, should have sufficient time following Friday's decision to make all the necessary preparations to allow beer to be sold at the Mountaineer football team's season-opener against Marshall on Sept. 4.

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