Friday, June 12, 2009

New Gopher Football Stadium Will be Booze-Free

Not that this will effect me anytime soon (or possibly ever), but looks like the rich folks in the club seats and suites at the U's new football stadium won't be able to booze it up. Or at any other Gopher sporting event. Yep thanks to our Governor and the legislature, the bill they passed that says The U must sell beer to everyone or no one at sporting events means University President Robert Bruininks has decided to sell it to no one. Pawlenty said the policy, which many schools across the country share, is elitist and not fair to Joe Average Fan. While perhaps true, there's very few NCAA schools that sell beer to anyone of age (the Pioneer Press article mentions Syracuse and the U of Cincinnati), so you had to figure that by passing this it would mean the Gophers would ban booze for everybody.

That's just not good business. As I said, I'm never going to be able to afford the expensive seats where I could drink beer at a U sporting event, but that's not the point. The point is this is very likely to take money out of the pockets of the athletic department because you have to think rich folks are going to be less likely to pony up big dollars for suites or club seats if they can't booze it up. And in this economic climate, athletic departments need all the money they can get.

Well actually I guess that's not THE point but simply a smaller point that we might as well focus on because the bigger point, which is banning booze at stadiums does not deter minors from still getting drunk, won't be addressed. Sure, we COULD drop the pretentious idea that NOT selling beer in the general concourse means we're going to keep underaged college students from getting drunk. Because as Fox 9 showed us with their groundbreaking story on how underaged hockey players at the U drink quite regularily (I'm anxiously awaiting Fox 9's next shocking expose- despite being under age, high school kids smoke! Who knew? The shocking details tonight at 9!!) , if college kids between the ages of 18-20 want alcohol, there's a good chance they're going to get it.

I could broaden this further and ask why oh why don't we put the drinking age back down to 19, but since that seems to fall on deaf ears (and honestly and without sarcasm- what's the argument against lowering the drinking age? Please, I'm listening. What is it? At 19 you're old enough to vote, or join the Army and put your life on the line, but you can't have a beer? Really? That makes sense? Please explain). So instead I'll ask why the policies at the Metrodome, Target Center, and the Xcel Center (and any pro stadium across the country) can't work for University sports. If you want to buy a beer, you need to show a valid ID. While not 100% fool proof, it seems to be pretty effective in keeping brewskies out of the hands of minors- or just as effective as not selling it all.

Why this policy wouldn't work for Gopher sporting events is beyond me, but hey, the NCAA are the same folks who continue to tell us that football and men's basketball is NOT the biggest monopoly this side of OPEC and are simply students playing athletic events for the love of the game. So getting them to concede that barring beer sales from a stadium will bar minors from getting hammered before kick-off is probably not going to happen either.

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