North Texas Daily

Opinion: Football has a drinking problem

Opinion: Football has a drinking problem

Opinion: Football has a drinking problem
September 11
22:53 2013

The walk from the Hill to Apogee stadium is 230 feet, so why is it OK to drink alcohol while tailgating at the Hill and illegal to drink it inside the stadium? Why are UNT and the Mean Green athletic department letting thousands of dollars of revenue escape down the throats of tailgaters, bar-goers and pre-gamers?

According to a 2011 article from the Sports Business Journal, 21 out of 120 Football Bowl subdivision universities sell beer at their stadiums. The number has surely increased since, with Conference USA rival University of Texas at El Paso and former Sun Belt rival the University of Louisiana-Monroe among major schools participating in the practice.

UNT should immediately take steps to begin the sale of alcohol at Apogee Stadium because of the potentially humungous revenue stream that is currently untapped.

In a recent ntdaily.com article, UNT Senior Associate Athletic Director Eric Capper freely admitted the university constantly considers the decision, which UNT President V. Lane Rawlins echoed.

“The policy for this year will be that we don’t sell alcohol in the stadium,” Rawlins said. “We will review it prior to next year.”

Rawlins said while the number of universities that sell alcohol has greatly increased over the last 10 years, the vast majority still don’t sell alcohol.

“There has been a traditional view that it’s kind of asking for trouble in college sports,” Rawlins said. “We do recognize that there are some real revenue opportunities there and that there are a number of fans who would enjoy and be quite comfortable with a beer as they are at a baseball game”

The exact amount of money would depend on a variety of factors including the price of beer, attendance and possibly the success of Mean Green football. However, the numbers could be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, according to the Sports Business Journal.

The University of Nevada generates $350,000 in beer sales every year, Colorado State University’s beer sales account for 55 percent of its concession revenue and in 2011 West Virginia University grossed a little less than $300,000—in two games.

In the same ntdaily.com article, Capper voiced concerns over keeping a friendly and safe atmosphere at Apogee stadium while also avoiding underage drinking and overconsumption, which are the primary reasons given to keep alcohol out of college stadiums.

“Binge drinking is a huge issue on college campuses, and we want to make sure we are doing our part to avoid that,” Capper said in the article.

This argument falls flat whenever hundreds of students are allowed to legally and safely consume alcohol less than a football field away from the stadium. Also, like most alcohol-free universities, UNT’s sporting events are rampant with underage students taking advantage of lax security at the gates by bringing alcohol illegally, in flasks and CamelBaks.

With the potential to greatly increase revenue for a lagging athletic department and very little risk (less than 20 alcohol-related cases at Apogee stadium), the university would be foolhardy to not at least seriously consider bringing the booze to Apogee.

William A. Darnell is a journalism junior. He can be reached at willdarnell@gmail.com

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