Archive for Saturday, November 17, 2012

KU athletic director interested to see what new Big 12 university is doing

November 17, 2012, 12:36 a.m. Updated November 17, 2012, 1:58 p.m.


Kansas University students and fans unveil a large KU banner and cheer on the Jayhawks before the start of the football game against TCU on Sept. 15 at Memorial Stadium. KU has no plans to begin selling alcohol at its games, unlike new Big 12 addition West Virginia University.

Kansas University students and fans unveil a large KU banner and cheer on the Jayhawks before the start of the football game against TCU on Sept. 15 at Memorial Stadium. KU has no plans to begin selling alcohol at its games, unlike new Big 12 addition West Virginia University.

When today’s Big 12 football game between Iowa State and Kansas University reaches halftime, some in attendance will leave their seats and head back to the site of their pregame tailgate for a taste of what they had consumed a couple of hours earlier.

Some will even try to hide an alcoholic beverage in a flask upon re-entry, when security isn’t as tight because some of the personnel are dealing with issues that might arise during the first half. Such sneaky fans would be in keeping with a time-honored college football tradition.

And the university won’t make a dime on the sale of beer because in keeping with state laws governing public universities in Kansas, KU does not sell it at football games.

West Virginia University, which joined Texas Christian University as the newest members of the Big 12 at the beginning of this school year, didn’t used to sell beer at games either, but has for the past two football seasons.

West Virginia Athletic Director Oliver Luck said that at the suggestion of the university police chief and the Morgantown police chief, he looked into changing what was known as the “pass-out” policy. (It was so named not because of what excessive drinking can make someone do; rather because spectators leaving the stadium were given a pass that gave them the right to re-enter.)

The more Luck looked into making a change, the better it looked to him to replace the pass-out policy with one that lifted the ban on selling beer and forbid re-entry to those leaving the stadium.

“During a conversation with the police chiefs, I said that I get it that hard-liquor consumption is not good with our fan base and asked, ‘What would your response be if I recommend that we sell beer in the stadium, and if you leave the stadium you can’t come back?’ They said they thought it was a reasonable approach, to stop the pass-out policy and offer beer sales,” Luck said in a recent telephone interview.

Incidents requiring police attention are down and revenue is way up, Luck said. He said the combination of revenue generated from beer sales and sponsorships from beer distributors that have come on board, brought in an estimated $750,000 in 2011 and could top $1 million this year.

Kansas visits West Virginia for its season finale Saturday, Dec. 1. KU Athletic Director Sheahon Zenger plans to be on the trip, but said he hasn’t yet discussed West Virginia’s new policy with Luck.

“Obviously, when we go there for the game, I’ll be interested in seeing what they’re doing,” Zenger said, “but based on our state laws and legislation, I don’t see it being something that would take hold here in Kansas.”

In the event Zenger is impressed enough to start looking into clearing the hurdles that stand in the way of selling beers, how would he go about lobbying for new legislation?

“I haven’t even given it enough thought to know what the next step would be,” Zenger said. “So really, at this point, I think ADs in our league are probably just interested in watching what the experience is, but I wouldn’t want to go any further than saying it’s just a curiosity at this point.”

Luck said response from West Virginia football fans has been overwhelmingly positive since the policy change.

“There have been a few emails like the one from someone who said, ‘My 60-year-old grandfather has been going out at halftime to get a sandwich at his tailgate for 40 years.’ I’ve heard maybe one or two other complaints about changing the pass-out policy,” Luck said. “People like the fact that they can buy a beer. A healthy percentage of people sitting in the stands at Mountaineer games are fans of the Steelers, Redskins, Ravens, Reds, Pirates or Orioles and can drink beer at those games.”

The 16-ounce beers sell for $7, $8 and $9, Luck said.

“Also, all our metrics on how many arrests are made show they are down from two years ago,” Luck said.

He said that from 2010, when beer was not sold and the pass-out policy was in place, to 2011, the first year of in-stadium beer sales, there were “25 to 30 percent fewer incidents that rose to the level of getting police involved.”

Since making the policy change, Akron University has done the same. Luck said he has had conversations with “probably half a dozen university representatives who have asked about what was the thought process, how has it worked out and what resistance did we encounter. Some schools are at least looking at it.”

Luck confirmed that thus far, Kansas has not been among the schools inquiring.


Wayne Propst 5 years, 5 months ago

The nobility (wealthy "donors") drink scotch, beer,wine,whatever as they gaze down on the alc-less peasants from their "luxury" sky box "sweets"..................

skinny 5 years, 5 months ago

Jealous wprop? Maybe you should have gone to college!

parrothead8 5 years, 5 months ago

Right. Because, as we all know, college is a sure path to wealth.

Stan Unruh 5 years, 5 months ago

Attended an SEC game earlier this season. I was surprised that no beer was sold at the stadium. I asked several fans (in this instance from South Carolina) and nobody seemed to care about the beer sales but almost everyone around us had a flask of something they were enjoying and it wasn't sweet tea. Does Memorial Stadium really need the beer? No

blindrabbit 5 years, 5 months ago

I'm no prude and enjoy a suds or toddy, but not to get souced at a sporting event. I quit going to both Royals and Chiefs games because of both the expense but the rude, drunk and obnoxious fans as well. I guess this is acceptable at professionsl sporting events, but it seems a bit much for a college event. This situation also convinced me not to attend KU football games at Arrowhead, after the initial KU-OU game there about 10 years ago and the blitzed drunken section we were seated in erupted into several fights

I can deal with the drunken crowd situation at those events myself but sure don't want to subject the wife and grandkids to this juvenile behaviour. KU does not need this unless they make beer sales and consumption restricted to certain areas

kuguardgrl13 5 years, 5 months ago

Having been a student at the Border Showdown between 2009 and 2011, I can tell you that the beer makes the experience awful. It brings the worst out of KU and Mizzou fans alike. Alcohol makes for a bad environment that you don't want to bring children to. The students drink way too much and have to be escorted out, badly representing the school. The bands get things thrown at them from bricks to seat backs. This is not the kind of environment we want at Memorial Stadium or Allen Fieldhouse. If you want to drink and watch the game, stay home or go out to one of the many bars.

straightforward 5 years, 5 months ago

I also enjoy my suds but generally speaking, I think this sounds like a pretty bad idea. I would be curious in knowing more though, like what impact this has on their student section. Does W. Va sell in the student section? Do they even bother carding or do they assume a 21+ year old is going to take a beer back to their minor buddy? At those prices maybe they assume students getting wasted won't be a problem?

I'm like you blindrabbit, I also won't be going back to any games at Arrowhead because of the drunkies. The obnoxious MU fan behind me at the first KU-MU game spilled their beer on me and I just don't care to experience that environment again.

On a totally different point - I was sort of confused by the timing of this story. It doesn't sound like it is anything Zenger has even been considering, hasn't been an issue with any other teams in the conference, and the W Va game isn't until next week. No big deal, just curious...

Tom Keegan 5 years, 5 months ago

Straightfoward, I heard about what West Virginia was doing and thought I'd call the AD and see how the change is going. After he told me that incidents were down and revenue up, I figured I would check to see to what degree Zenger is looking at it. You're correct in saying it's not something Zenger has considered yet. As far as the timing, I just figured it's better to be pro-active and get in front of the story, see if KU is one of the schools considering making this interesting policy change. Today's the last day of the home football schedule, so I figured the timing made sense. Thanks. -- Tom

Tim Quest 5 years, 5 months ago

Ah yes, the Bible Belt hand-wringing has already commenced. Keep being Kansas, Kansas.

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