Can selling booze inside stadiums reduce public drunkenness?

Keg Stand while Tailgating
Over the years, tailgating has been the blame for lots of societal ills surrounding college football including binge drinking, boorish behavior, out and out brawls , DUIs, underage drinking, public intoxication and even accidental death as was the case last year at Yale. As a promoter of tailgating and the tailgate party lifestyle, it sickens me that no matter the problem, tailgating is always to blame for bad behavior. No one is ever willing to point the finger at bad parenting or just an overall erosion of manners in America whenever an unfortunate incident happens in or near a sporting venue.

One of our staff writers, Peter Tverdov, shared a short podcast with me where the host and guest discuss the pros and cons of lifting the long held ban on serving beer inside college football stadiums that could actually reduce the number of public drunkenness arrests and cut down on the boorish behavior negatively applied tailgating. That defies common logic but take a listen to the five minute podcast and see if you agree with their take on this issue.

Although the podcast brought in some authoritative actualities they did not provide any rock solid facts as to why the alcohol related arrests dropped at West Virginia the first year they introduced beer sales. We may be left to assume that what I like to call the “Prohibition Mentality” was eliminated. The desire to binge drink on the outside of the stadium was gone because there was no prohibition on alcohol consumption once tailgaters entered the stadium. Tailgaters can have some adult beverages on the outside and since they know beer is served inside, they have no worry of losing their buzz once they enter the game. But when all alcohol was banned inside the stadium, fans that wanted to maintain that alcohol buzz needed to consume enough alcohol in the parking lot to get them through the whole game feeling a bit intoxicated. And let’s face it, college kids don’t know their limit yet and tend to overindulge resulting in public drunkenness and other bad behavior.

Let’s live in the real world and not put our collective heads in the sand about binge drinking and tailgating. People, college aged kids especially, are going to binge drink and get blind drunk no matter what safety restrictions you place on society. If it doesn’t happen outside a stadium at a tailgate party, binge drinking is going to happen at a fraternity house or a dorm room. All one needs to do is take a look at the news and the new phenomena known as butt-chugging and you need not ask if college kids are still into getting falling down drunk.

With that said, serving beer inside a college football stadium may have some merit in reducing alcohol related incidents. Of course you are never going to eliminate those incidents brought about by those who are going to push their alcohol consumption to the limit. But by serving beer inside the stadium, universities may eliminate that anxiety of not being able maintain a buzz inside the stadium and thus cut down on the “get it all in before we have to go in” mentality.

What do you think? Should other universities follow West Virginia’s lead and start selling beer inside the stadium in order to reduce the amount of alcohol related incidents on game days? Leave your comments below or comment on our Tailgating Ideas Facebook Page.

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