NCAA Takes Another Step Toward Expanding Alcohol Sales At Postseason Events
The NCAA BOG has "rescinded its regulation outlawing all alcohol sales at any NCAA-sanctioned postseason event and handed over the decision on whether to sell beer and wine at championship events to each division’s leadership," according to Anthony Schoettle of the INDIANAPOLIS BUSINESS JOURNAL. The move comes less than a year after the NCAA "conducted a pilot program to allow alcohol sales at a limited number of events so association leaders could gather data to make a long-term decision regarding the controversial issue." The BOG asked the D-I Council to "consider legislation that would allow beer and wine sales" at some championships' final sites as soon as the '18-19 season. The sites that would be allowed to sell alcohol "must already be set up to sell alcohol for non-NCAA events." Sources said that the D-I Council is "expected to study the issue and report back to the board with a concrete proposal to sell beer and wine at some of its championship events -- likely including the men’s and women’s Final Fours." The D-I BOD said that its action was the "result of favorable data gathered regarding fan experience and the reduction of alcohol-related incidents at championship events" as part of last year’s pilot program. Schoettle noted the NCAA has "largely steered clear of alcohol sales at NCAA-sanctioned postseason events -- until last year, when alcohol was sold at the College World Series softball tournament and the much larger College World Series baseball tourney in Omaha." Sources said that NCAA championships in lacrosse, wrestling, volleyball and ice hockey will "likely be selling beer" by '18. Sports marketers "think now that beer and wine will almost certainly be sold" at the '19 Final Fours (IBJ.com, 11/1).
RESPONSIBLE APPROACH: In San Diego, Mark Zeigler reports beer and wine sales will be "something new" at San Diego State basketball games this year, beginning with tonight's home exhibition against UC San Diego at Viejas Arena. For years, fans could "purchase alcohol during concerts at Viejas Arena but not at basketball games" due to an '05 ban for "on-campus sporting events." That was "lifted over the summer." The new policy is that fans "must get a separate ID check first," can buy only two beers at a time and sales "will be cut off at the start of the second half." SDSU AD John David Wicker said, "We're looking for people to be responsible adults and to treat this in a responsible way. ... We're trying to find that middle ground. ... There are people who come to Viejas Arena and would like to have a beer while they watch a basketball game" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 11/2).