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Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Minnesota Passes Bill to Allow Beer and Alcohol Sales at College Sporting Events

For those who are interested in the debate over whether to allow beer and alcohol sales at college sporting events, the State of Minnesota recently passed a bill that would allow for the sale of alcohol in suites for premium ticket holders and in a beer garden for the general public. According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the new bill is expected to bring the State of Minnesota $1.5-$2.0 Million in annual revenue.

If Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton signs this new bill into law, Minnesota will join Iowa, West Virginia and a growing number of other states in allowing beer and alcohol sales at their college sporting events. This is at the same time that many colleges around the country claim there is a need to crack down on undergraduate students' alcohol consumption.

In a 2010 law review article, David Rosenthal (a former student of mine) and I discuss the inconsistent messages that college athletics send about alcohol use. Does it make sense for the University of Minnesota to arrest underage students for drinking beer on Friday nights, and then to sell beer in its football stadium on Saturday afternoons?

Also, when colleges profit from the sale of beer at their sporting events, are they implicitly using their 'student-athletes' to help peddle the product? If so, can we truly call these college athletes amateurs?


The only positive that may come out of this is a decrease in binge drinking leading up to the games. If students can use their fake IDs to buy beer inside the stadium, they'd be less likely to chug their own before going in.

Anonymous Anonymous -- 4/24/2012 6:21 PM  

The only positive that could come out of this is a decrease in binge drinking. If students know they can buy beer with their fake IDs inside the stadium, they're probably less likely to chug their own before going in.

Anonymous Anonymous -- 4/24/2012 6:22 PM  

I know from my experience at the University of Louisville that in-stadium alcohol sales do little to keep undergrads from binge drinking. Tailgating (and binge drinking) have become part of the culture.

That said, I find it odd most stadiums don't allow alcohol sales. Check IDs sure, but I think the ability to drink a beer will add to the fan experience.

Anonymous Anonymous -- 4/24/2012 8:57 PM  

Minnesota won't be allowing beer to leave designated areas (i.e. the beer garden in the open end of its stadium or the premium seating) so there at least is a level of control. The legislature refused to simply allow it at the University's discretion, which created friction for the past two years.

To the last question, I don't see an issue with enforcing underage drinking laws while also serving to those of age.

Anonymous Anonymous -- 4/25/2012 11:46 AM  

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