The Texas Longhorns are considering becoming the third school in the Big 12 to allow beer and liquor sales at football games, in addition to basketball and baseball contests, or some combination of the three.
Athletic director DeLoss Dodds told the Daily Texan that the discussion on the subject is one that happens frequently:
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.
It certainly seems questionable that providing alcohol at sporting events would make them safer, especially when the number of drunk drivers would surely increase across the board at whatever sports decided to allow alcohol sales -- 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.
With access to alcohol at the game, that number would surely be similar after the game, if not higher, posing a significant risk to other motorists following events.
Since Dodds doesn't seem to be able to make it through many discussions with the media these days without missing the mark at least once, he had this to share:
The thing I will say is that it's not a money thing. If we did do it, people would say that they they're just doing it for the money. It's not a money issue. It's a do-the-right-thing issue.
At the least, saying it's not about making money would seem disingenuous -- if it's not about making money, what is it about? Dodds tries to answer that question by saying that it's about doing the right thing.
If it is truly about doing the right thing, the possible impact of drunk driving and other potential negative effects for families would seem to end the discussion.
On the other hand, if it's about the atmosphere in the stadium, there seems to be little doubt that more alcohol could well equal more noise in two sports where the Longhorns struggled to create home-field or home-gym advantages due to quiet fans.
Whether or not alcohol sales in stadiums cause an increase in altercations between fans or makes it a less family-friendly environment is another part of the discussion, but one that requires more investigation rather than attempts at ill-informed generalities.
However, since roughly half of the schools in the country do allow alcohol sales and there aren't reports of widespread problems as a result, other than post-game public safety concerns, the in-game impact doesn't seem to be too deleterious, as a whole.
So much for not making ill-informed generalities.
And, as much as Dodds wants to try to say this isn't about money, it's hard to believe that stance after West Virginia pulled down more than half a million last year in alcohol sales at football games, according to the Texan, and Texas would stand to make significantly more.
If the 'Horns could possibly make close to $1 million every year in revenues from alcohol sales, given that DKR sits 40,000 more people for every game than West Virginia does at Milan Puskar Stadium, saying that money isn't a factor isn't particularly believable.
Taking money out of the equation, it just doesn't seem like there is a strong argument for allowing the sale of alcohol at those games.
What say you, BONizens? Would you like your burnt orange kool-aid at games with a little spike?