It’s a debate that has been going on for quite some time now. Should colleges and universities sell beer at their football games?
This question was brought up this past week at the Big Ten meetings in Rosemont, Illinois. The bigger question that come out from Illini Nation…
Should beer be sold at Memorial Stadium?
Seems simple enough. Everyone else is doing, right? Wrong.
In his book You Herd Me!: I’ll Say It If Nobody Else Will, ESPN radio host Colin Cowherd stated, “Of the 120 Division I football programs, 21 of them sell alcohol at their games.”
Twenty-one out of 120 programs? That means only 17.5% of DI programs are selling beer at football games. Not everybody.
In the Big Ten alone, Minnesota is only team that sells alcohol at their games. Their beer sales start an hour before kickoff and end at the end of halftime.
Michigan State’s Mark Hollis hit the nail on the head with his comments at the Big Ten meetings. He said, “Are you adding beer as an amenity to your fans or are you adding beer to drive revenues for your program?”
Let’s be honest. Most of the time, programs and teams across all sports sell beer at their games to increase their revenues.
However, with college football, you’re putting young “adults” together with the high charged sports of football, and then you’re giving them alcohol.
In his book, Cowherd also said that West Virginia made $520,000 in beer money the year that started selling beer at games (2011). Although, like Cowherd asked after that fact, “is it worth it?”
In my opinion, no, it’s not worth it.
There are teams like Ohio State and Notre Dame that do not sell beer at games. Are their fans leaving games upset that they didn’t get to drink beer? No, their excited because (hopefully) their team beat the snot out of whoever they were playing that day.
According to the News-Gazette, Illinois AD Mike Thomas had this to said about selling beer at future games at Memorial Stadium:
“It’s not something that’s a front-burner item for us, but every couple months the topic comes up. But when you’re talking to student groups, and you’re figuring out how you’re going to mirror the kind of opportunities they have not coming to the game, that’s usually something that comes up.”
The best part about Thomas’ comments was that it’s not on the “front-burner,” and it shouldn’t be.
That’s because winning should be on the front-burner of every person related to the Illinois Fighting Illini football team.
If you need beer to make your fans happy at the end of a football game, then your team must stink.
So, no, Illinois shouldn’t be worried about selling beer at their football games. They should be worried about winning games on the field and giving fans something to cheer about (unlike last year’s student section against Northwestern).
If Illinois can build up a winning team, they (the fans) will come.
What do you think, Illini Nation? Should Illinois start selling beer at Memorial Stadium?