BOONE – The Appalachian State Board of Trustees unanimously approved a motion allowing the athletics department to pursue beer and wine sales for all its stadiums, including Kidd Brewer Stadium and the Holmes Center, during a July 25 special meeting.
“I appreciate the due diligence on the part of our trustees and university staff to ensure we can meet the needs of our university, continue to positively contribute to the local economy and enhance the already outstanding Mountaineer fan experience,” Chancellor Sheri Everts said in a July 25 statement. “Throughout this review, we have prioritized the safety and security of our university community, and we will continue to do so as we work through the logistics related to implementing alcohol sales at our athletics venues.”
The trustees listened to a presentation by ASU Athletics Director Doug Gillin, who was speaking by teleconference as he was out of town. Gillin said he was tasked with researching the topic previously by Everts.
The motion included allowing permitting at Kidd Brewer Stadium, Varsity Gym, baseball’s Jim and Bettie Smith Stadium, softball’s Sywassink/Lloyd Family Stadium, future athletic facilities on the Appalachian 105 property, the Holmes Center, field hockey’s Adcock Stadium and the Appalachian Soccer Stadium at the Ted Mackorell Soccer Complex.
The motion also included Ted Mackorell Soccer Complex, although the board’s discussion acknowledged additional permissions would be necessary to serve alcohol at this venue, as its operation is a joint venture of the Appalachian State University Foundation, Watauga County and the High Country Soccer Association.
Gillin said the passage doesn’t mean ASU will seek to sell alcohol at all those facilities and it does not include hard liquor.
“We appreciate the trustees’ thoughtful consideration of our review of data and the experiences of peer institutions,” Gillin said in a statement. “Universities across the country have seen both a decrease in alcohol-related incidents and an enhanced fan experience when they provide a controlled environment for alcohol sales. Our game day staff will partner with Campus Dining, the App State police department, local law enforcement and other campus constituents to provide a safe and positive environment for everyone in attendance.”
Gillin said there have been four meetings with campus constituents where they looked at more than 50 peer institutions who already sell alcohol. Gillin previously cited studies showing a reduction in alcohol-related incidents when the university allows in-stadium alcohol sales. Gillin indicated that peer institutions which sell alcohol have cited a reduction in binge drinking attributed to greater control over alcohol availability and consumption in athletics venues.
When asked if ASU Athletics could get the permitting in place to sell alcohol by the first 2019 home football game on Aug. 31, Gillin said that is currently the plan.
The approval by the ASU Trustees became possible when Gov. Roy Cooper signed House Bill 389 into law on June 26, which will allow state universities to sell beer and wine at athletic venues on game day.
Previously, App State allowed the sale of alcohol in limited capacities at football, basketball and baseball games as part of club levels or beer gardens that were technically outside of the stadium.
Going forward, Gillin said there’s a meeting on July 30 with the N.C. Alcohol Beverage Control Commission where he said lot more details on alcohol permitting at sporting events will be hashed out.
Senior Associate Athletics Director Jonathan Reeder said that all other public Football Bowl Subdivision schools in North Carolina (North Carolina, N.C. State, East Carolina and Charlotte) have already allowed alcohol permitting for sporting events, many of which in recent weeks.
According to an ASU statement in June, Gillin presented information to the trustees’ Athletics Committee that cited studies showing a reduction in alcohol-related arrests. Additionally, he indicated that peer institutions have cited greater control over alcohol availability and consumption in athletics venues, noting a reduction in binge drinking by fans outside sporting venues that do not sell alcohol.