Does alcohol have a proper role at campus sports events?

Students who have been found intoxicated and ejected from a Gopher football game will have to take a Breathalyzer test before they can attend another game, under a policy being developed for the University of Minnesota’s new football stadium. The plan would tolerate no alcohol in the system of a student too young to drink and only some in students of legal drinking age. Officials are trying to limit rowdy behavior, which they say is closely related to alcohol use. Does alcohol have a proper role at campus sports events?

Most of us enjoy high school games w/o beer. The game, your friends, a cool evening are what make it fun. -Leigh Webber, Blaine, MN

I don’t think those who are responsible drinkers should be penalized because some people are idiots. I would have thought all the U brainpower would be creative. -Lisa Threadgill, St. Louis Park, MN

Alcohol at college sporting events is inevitable. College kids find a way to drink by either binging before the game or sneaking in alcohol. . Allowing alcohol to be sold at the event may prevent binge drinking before the event by students who know they will not be able to drink once there. -anonymous text message

  • Mike

    This is a thorny issue. How do you balance the responsible imbibers against public safety and troublemakers. In theory, there should be no problem with people consuming alcohol at campus sports events. However, some college students have not yet learned to control their consumption and behavior, and this minority gives the majority a bad name. I think the best way to deal with troublemakers would be to take away their tickets without refunds and steep fines for rowdy behavior.

  • Linda Levin

    No, not any more than Weed or lions–it is time for change. I would attend more sports events if there was no alcohol served. It impairs decision making in an emotionally charged event.

  • JackU

    Not if we keep the legal age for consuming alcohol at 21 years old. Most campus events, like football games, are geared to the undergraduate community on campus. If we accept that most undergraduates will be under age then we need to control the availability of alcohol at these events. Does it mean that these students won’t drink? No. Does it mean that the University is not a “facilitator” in under age drinking. Yes.

    This is why the U’s approach seemed to be a fair compromise. Make alcohol available in the expensive (read: mostly alumni) seats but not in the cheap (read: mostly student) seats.

  • Will

    I’m a liberal, and to me this has to be a joke. How much money would this cost the U? How will they realistically administer this “policy?”

    Why does our culture have such a dysfunctional relationship with alcohol?

  • Chad

    Alcohol isn’t bad in and of itself. It’s forseeable that a drunk mob of tens of thousands could get ugly, though. What’s the risk worth?

  • Angie

    If we respect young people by treating them like adults and putting the responsibility of drinking in their hands, most will accept the responsibility. All it does is make a big deal out of nothing.

  • Rico Vallejos

    The problem is a cultural one — with roots in the taboo about alcohol we have in Minnesota. We don’t want to sell alcohol in grocery stores to prevent children to see alcohol. This leads to abuse by teens and young adults, most other world cultures don’t have this problem.

  • Chad

    As a university student in the twin cities and a gopher fan I have some strong feelings on this issue. College kids want to be treated like adults and many make alcohol part of college life. The problem is that the culture of binge drinking at the U of M is ridiculous. I am in favor of the University trying to keep the student section devoid of the drunkards who cause disturbances.

  • Rico Vallejos

    Addition to my earlier comment: The puritan values in Minnesota, combined with the personal freedom kids enjoy here, don’t mix well, and have been deadly to teens around alcohol use. Don’t make it a taboo — that’s a long-term solution, let’s start now.

  • Michael Torres

    When was the last time you remember a student anteing up for a 8 beer at a game? yes, drunken belligerence should not be allowed but most of are adults. Start treating the students as so. We need to talk about solving binge drinking allowing college age adults (19 y) to drink.

  • Ryan

    I personally abstain from alcohol, but enforcing the new no alcohol policy at University of Minnesota football games is going to cause more problems than it solves. A multiplicity of football fans particularly college aged students are going to drink–via vendors at the stadium, in the parking lots or dorm rooms before the game or by finding ways to smuggle in their own alcohol into the stadium. In all honesty, the new policy is impractical and is going to be a PR nightmare.

  • Steve

    Yes, as the activie ingredient in hand sanitizers.

  • Leslie Hittner

    NO! NO! NO!

    It’s a no brainer. Colleges cannot at the same time be concerned about young student binges and tacitly allow or even encourage that very behavior to go on anyplace on the campus – even a football arena.

    Money should have no part in this decision. The “culture of alcohol” will continue if this behavior is allowed.

    It’s probably true that “kids are going to drink – no matter what,” but that does NOT mean that the University must be badgered into allowing alcohol binges for any reason.

  • fPaul

    Alcohol will always have a place in large gartherings until the people attending find other ways to feel secure.

  • Greg Hruby

    oh yeah – let em have alcohol. Just rewrite the ticket-holder “license” as follows.

    All ticket holders drinking alcohol shall be automatically included into a “class group” that will be responsible for the any and all damages resulting from behavior of other alcohol consuming ticket holders. Ticket holders must present ticket stub and Legal ID in order to purchase liquor the U can then sell insurance to ticket holders (yes – this based on the rental-car model) – there’s the money maker.

  • MCAnderson

    Without a zero-tolerance breathalizer for every fan trying to enter a campus sporting event, alcohol will continue to play a role for some fans and influence their conduct.

    The deeper and more heated question is whether the university would be providing avenues for underage and overzealous drinking by making alcohol available at their events.

    Though I’m a fan who sits in regular seat at Gopher football, basketball, and hockey events, I prefer the approach of offering alcohol available in specific, controlled, environments within the campus venue like club rooms and box suites. Alcohol sales are undeniably high-margin, and if of-age fans can help drive revenue for the university through responsible alcohol sales…I say RAH!

  • Alicks

    The participants in this broadcast seemed smug and tedious. They brought up unchallenged, unexamined and unexplained safety statistics to back up their anti-college drinking positions, then threw in anecdotes to argue how bad the situation is now (ie ” back then, I did not drink at Purdue like they drink now”). Their indictment of advertising as an instigator for abusive college drinking is way too easy…..I am guessing the debauchry and drunkeness written18th century Oxford was not fueled too much by ESPN beer ads.

  • Fred Marx

    it’s hard not to sound like my father on this one.

    Attendance at a football game these days is made so unpleasant by inebriates – most of whom are not of legal drinking age. The U has programs combating alcohol abuse and underage consumption. It is hypocrisy, then, for the U to essentially condone these practices by tailgaters and game attendees.

    Alumni, many of whom abused alcohol while attending college, cannot be allowed to champion the next generation of abusers. It’s either wrong or it’s right. Alumni dollars do not make it gray.

  • shashi

    my answer to this question is one word – NO.

    Besides the law and order problem during the event , encouraging alchohol consumption at such an early age has long term impact – but try getting to do anything about it – good luck

  • johnniieee

    The US is continuing to move to more control of personal choices. Limiting drinking and other freedoms. Europeans don’t seem to have all the hang ups or problems we do with drinking or drugs. Limiting choices of personal responsability move our country more away from freedom and more to the state of control we see in places like Iran, and China

  • cad87

    Of course. Drinking has always been an integral part of sports.. especially football! But now thanks to the prudes in St Paul and at the U, you can’t smoke in the stadium, you can’t drink in the stadium. You can’t have fun in the stadium! Why bother. I’ll just stay home and watch the game on TV.

  • loaliowLica

    so informative, thanks to tell us.

  • Smiplemowhile

    Hello. And Bye.