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SG candidates want beer sales at UT athletic events One team running for president and vice president of Student

Government at the University of Texas at Austin wants UT to join the approximately 20 other NCAA Division I universities that sell beer at athletic events. John Lawler and Terrence Maas comprise one of the two remaining pairs vying for Student Governments highest offices. In their campaign platform, they propose the beer sales to help offset recent budget cuts that forced tuition increases, layoffs and the discontinuation of some academic majors. No other schools in the Big 12 Conference currently sell alcohol outside of their stadiums private suites and clubs, though neither the conference nor the NCAA prohibits the sale of alcohol at regular season games. West Virginia University, which will join the Big 12 in the fall, began selling beer at football games last year. Oliver Luck, athletic director at WVU, said the policy generated approximately $750,000 during its inaugural season. The actual sales of beer brought in close to $500,000, and sponsorships from beer companies produced the remaining $250,000. Luck also said revenue from regular concessions such as soft drinks and food increased significantly last year. We blew past the old numbers by 60 to 70 percent, Luck said. Luck said the proceeds from beer sales go to a general university fund that has no defined purpose. DeLoss Dodds, athletic director at UT, said the university has considered allowing beer sales, but he is apprehensive about implementing the policy. There are plusses and minuses and weve been through them all, Dodds said. I think if I took a vote of the people in the room when we talk these things through, they would say we should do it. Ive been the one saying, Lets wait and be sure. We dont know if the University or the Regents would let us do this. Matt Flores, a spokesman for the UT Board of Regents, said the board is not commenting on speculative ideas at this time. There is a rule in place that prohibits the consumption of alcohol except in designated areas, Flores said. Unless it becomes an issue, it probably wouldnt be discussed. Dodds said the potential for additional revenue is an incentive to allow beer sales, but compared to the total revenue generated by athletics, the amount is not as significant as it may seem, at least in UTs case. According to reports provided by the two universities to the U.S. Department of Education, WVU football generated a profit of $6,730,506 during the 2010-2011 season, while UT football generated a profit of $71,242,332. Dodds said concessions have raised about $3.2 million this year.

Were in good shape, Dodds said. If you added 700 or 800 thousand, that would be a positive, but it wouldnt be the reason wed do it. Dodds said UT would probably generate more revenue from beer sales than WVU did, because of UTs higher home game attendance. The average attendance at WVU football home games last season was 56,532. UT routinely sells out the 100,119 seats in Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. Alicia Jessop, main contributing writer for BusinessOfCollegeSports.com, said universities often have to share profits from concessions with their third party supplier of staff and inventory. Sodexo Inc. is the concessionaire for both WVU and UT. Jessop said 70 percent of concessions revenue from 2010 football games at the University of Louisville went to their concessionaire. Temple University only kept 10 percent of their concessions revenue. Both schools sell beer at athletic events. Ivan Wagner, general manager of concessions at UT, said the portion of net sales Sodexo receives depends on the terms of the contract between UT and Sodexo, and that he could not say for certain how much Sodexo would receive if beer sales were allowed. There is going to be revenue generated if you sell beer, Jessop said, but whos going to get that revenue? Dodds said the money generated from beer sales could fund non-athletic purposes of the university. Luck said that while revenue was one factor in the decision to allow beer sales at WVU, he was more interested in the policys ability to curb binge drinking at football games. He said fans took advantage of a policy that allowed them to leave and re-enter during games to drink heavily outside the stadium. The pass-out policy ended when WVU began selling beer, and fans can no longer re-enter the stadium once they exit. Coupled with the change in the pass-out policy, selling beer actually contributed to a better stadium atmosphere, Luck said. Bob Roberts, chief of the WVU Police Department, said the number of alcohol-related incidents during the 24-hour period of game days decreased significantly after beer sales began during the 2011 season. Roberts said WVU and the Morgantown Police Department work cooperatively at football games and compile joint data about incidents. Reports made by the two departments comparing charges filed in Morgantown on football game days show that DUI charges decreased by nearly 39 percent on average in 2011. Underage Possession charges decreased by nearly 53 percent. The first year was definitely a success, Roberts said. Does this mean next year will be the same? We cant predict that. But I dont see anything that makes me think it wont continue. In 2005, the University of Southern California was forced to end their policy allowing beer

sales after they experienced an increase in fan behavior problems at home football games. Terry McMahan, assistant chief of the UT Police Department, said UTPD would cooperate with UT if they decide allow beer sales. Should that happen, well make adjustments as we think we need to, McMahan said. Luck emphasized that WVUs success does not predict the outcome for other universities who sell beer. Id be cautious about pulling any lessons from us or any other school, Luck said. Every universitys situation is unique. Dodds said he wants to see more universities allow beer sales first in order to analyze their experiences before UT makes any changes to current policies. Its a tough call, Dodds said. Being a leader is sometimes not the best thing to do. But this is just sitting there looking at us, and we have to deal with it. Lawler said students should serve as the powerhouse in lobbying UT to allow beer sales. Its going to be tough negotiating with the athletics department, Lawler said, but if we have a chance to push this goal, we will. Hannah Grounds, a freshman business major, said she can see the potential benefits of beer sales. It would definitely generate revenue, Grounds said. I see a lot of people sneaking alcohol into the stadium now, so if it was sold inside, they might not do that. However, not all students would be in favor of allowing beer sales. Lawler and Maas may have to convince more than just the athletic department of the policys merits if they are to gather the student support they seek. I think it would just add to our reputation as a party school, said Rocky Phommachanh, a junior biology major. Id say keep the drinking at the tailgates, and out of the actual stadium.