Pat Borzi of the NEW YORK TIMES reports that the University of Minnesota is now giving breathalyzer tests to students entering Gopher football games at TCF Stadium.
(College fan choice: 2 beers during the game or smuggled hard liquor?)
Before you freak out, only students who have been booted from previous games because of documented alcohol offenses are having their BAC checked. But if any alcohol is detected in students under 21, those students are banned from entering the stadium.
Modeled after a program at the University of Wisconsin, Check BAC (pronounced check back) allows student season-ticket holders who are ejected from a game for intoxication offenses to attend future games by submitting to blood alcohol testing. Students under 21 must be alcohol-free; those 21 or older cannot exceed a BAC of 0.08. The two students at the Illinois game registered a 0.00 on the breath analyzer.
If the school really wants to cut down on drinking at football games, why isn’t this policy enacted for all fans?
Of course, we know the reason: because school administrators want to grandstand for publications like the NY Times by enforcing booze bans on helpless students, not influential alumni:
Initially, Minnesota planned to sell beer and wine in suites and premium seating areas while prohibiting it in the stadium’s lower bowl, which includes the student section.
But last May, the State Legislature passed a law requiring the university to offer alcohol throughout the stadium, or not at all. The university’s Board of Regents, on the recommendation of Robert Bruininks, the university president, voted by 10-2 to make the stadium alcohol-free.
Bruininks said the decision cost the university about $1 million in revenue. Two football suite holders and a handful of club seat subscribers canceled their contracts over the decision, and the university offered 10 percent discounts to entice others to stay.
Many universities don’t sell booze of any kind at home games, including schools like Ohio State, USC and the University of Georgia - where I attended school. But I’ve always viewed that move as a laughable, empty gesture that only leads to more binge drinking before games. Not to mention students smuggling hard liquor into stadiums when they might’ve only been able to access a beer or two during the game.
If collegiate administrators really wanted to curb drinking at games, they would set up DUI checkpoints outside stadiums after games. Of course, if you did that, well-monied elite who attend the games would raise holy hell.
Borzi’s piece in the Times is absurd. The selective enforcement of alcohol ingestion before a Big 10 football game by previous offenders has absolutely no impact on anything, save those few dozen who were somehow caught.
Schools needs to stop the charade and open up alcohol sales at college games. If police can handle behavior at booze-infused NFL games, I think they can deal with a few thousand college kids and overserved alumni.