June 8, 2016
Ohio State announced Wednesday its plan to implement stadium-wide beer sales during the 2016 season after allowing the sale of alcohol in select areas of Ohio Stadium last year.
A release posted on the Buckeyes’ official athletics site noted the additional revenue will be directly used to create two new full-time positions within the Ohio State Police Department, which come with a price tag of roughly $300,000.
“The safety of our campus community, including fans and visitors, is our No. 1 priority,” said Craig Stone, chief of the Ohio State University Police Division, in the release. “Thanks to this partnership with the department of athletics, two new, full-time officers will bolster our security presence and enhance campus safety year-round.”
Additional revenue—$50,000 over the next two years—will be used to fund research in the school’s Higher Education Center for Alcohol and Drug Misuse Prevention and Recovery. Any remaining money will go into the general athletics department budget, according to the announcement.
Selling beer during college football games has become a growing trend in recent years. Christian Malone of Saturday Down South cited VinePair statistics last fall that showed 34 stadiums across the country served beer during college games.
The biggest concern is the distribution of alcohol at a sporting event where a sizable portion of the crowd is underage. Although beer still can’t be sold to anyone under 21, West Virginia University president E. Gordon Gee told Marc Tracy of the New York Times last October that he’s had an internal debate about the issue since the school started allowing beer sales.
“I’m sometimes conflicted about it,” he said, “because I do believe one of the main issues confronting universities is alcohol abuse—binge drinking.”
It’s hard to pass up the additional cash flow, though. West Virginia athletic director Shane Lyons explained to the New York Times that the beer sales led to “approximately $500,000 a year” in revenue.
Ohio State, which also introduced a new bag policy as part of the new stadium guidelines, said the extra money going to the general athletics department budget will help fund study abroad and community service programs as well as cost of attendance, supplemental nutrition and other needs.
The Buckeyes are scheduled to play their first home game of the 2016 season on Saturday, Sept. 3, against MAC opponent Bowling Green.
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