Texas to begin beer sales at athletics events

The decision would launch a trial period for football season.

Tuesday evening will mark the start of beer sales at Texas Longhorns sporting events, according to a report from Orangebloods.

The women's basketball basketball game against the TCU Horned Frogs at the Erwin Center will be the first chance for Texas fans to buy beer at a game and will then expand to men's basketball, baseball, and softball, said a source close to the situation.

The Orangebloods report was later confirmed by the Statesman, which said that $8 plastic bottles of beer will be available at baseball games starting next week. However, the report was not clear about when the sales would go into effect.

For basketball, Wednesday will present the first opportunity for the potential to purchase of beer at a men's basketball game when the Longhorns take on the Baylor Bears, with sales expanding to football games in the fall if the trial period this spring produces the desired results without any dire consequences.

The first hint that such a decision could eventually happen at Texas came last spring, when former athletic director DeLoss Dodds told the Daily Texan that it was something discussed often in the administration:

We talk about it constantly. If we ever did it, we'd probably start with baseball. There's something about it that doesn't quite feel right, but there's people telling me that it might be safer to serve it than not serve it. It's an issue. I guarantee you we talk about it at almost every other staff meeting.

But since there were many more significant changes that needed to be made around Bellmont that never happened, it was hardly any surprise that Dodds ended his tenure at Texas without ever implementing beer sales at Texas athletics events.

Two schools in the Big 12 already allow alcohol sales at athletics events -- West Virginia and Iowa State. Perhaps because of the connections between athletic director Oliver Luck and Texas, the Mountaineers have always received more publicity surrounding alcohol sales.

In 2012, West Virginia made $520,000 from alcohol sales at their events, a number that could perhaps double for the Longhorns since there would be other sports involved and the fact that Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium has a significantly larger capacity.

The bigger concerns surround post-game drunk driving and the possibility for high levels of intoxication, especially at football games, where some sections of the stadium are known for having a consistently high level of intoxicated fans who are disruptive and have to leave the game, some times because they need medical attention.

And researchers at Virginia Tech found that during pre-game tailgating festivities before football games, one-third of those who intended to drive after the game were already legally intoxicated.

A poll last spring when Dodds' comments came out revealed that 63% of BON readers supported the sale of alcohol at games and doing so at football games could get fans into their seats earlier because they wouldn't have to drink that last beer out at tailgates and get them back in their seats more quickly following halftime because there wouldn't be a need to hit up the University of Texas Club in the stadium.

When Dodds brought up the subject last spring, he said it was a "do-the-right-thing" issue and not about money. But if it's not about money and there are dangers associated with the practice, then what's the reasoning?

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