Michigan, Ohio State agree: Stadiums will remain alcohol-free
Ohio State Buckeyes athletic director Gene Smith says alcohol will not be sold in Ohio Stadium despite more schools doing so.
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio State is on the same team with Michigan on the alcohol sales issue.
The Buckeyes do not plan to sell alcohol in the 102,000-seat Ohio Stadium on gamedays any time soon, AD Gene Smith said Friday.
Texas refueled the alcohol-at-games topic after reports surfaced in February that the Longhorns will sell beer at athletic events.
CBSSports.com’s Dennis Dodd deftly examined the booze conundrum and why schools such as Texas and West Virginia are doing it.
"I thought (Michigan AD) Dave Brandon said it well, we’re slightly different,” Smith said. “Our people tailgate all day long. No difference to Texas, but I’m not so sure they have the same level of massive tailgating all day long.”
Beer sales can be a huge revenue-driver – think $9 a pop for thousands of students – but Smith said he’d “rather leave the money on the table” than enhance safety risks. Insurance premiums rise, he said, and if a major accident happened in the stadium, people would point to beer sales.
“The reality is when you put it in the stadium you have to think about the responsibility,” Smith said. “All that stuff goes back to you.”
The counter-argument is selling beer in the stadium could actually be safer since fans aren’t binge-drinking until entering the stadium two minutes before kickoff. West Virginia reportedly saw a 35-percent decrease in game-day, alcohol-related issues after approving sales a few years ago.
Former Texas AD DeLoss Dodds said last year that “it’s not a money issue, it’s a do-the-right-thing issue.”
Smith figured a place like Texas wouldn’t be doing it for money.
“They don’t need the money,” he said.
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