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Some Colleges Starting to Sell Beer at Stadiums to Increase Revenue

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Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas is among the schools that will start to sell beer and wine at football games this fall, in an effort to increase revenue, according to USA Today.

The school sold beer during basketball season this past year, netting six figures over the course of 12 games, the article notes.

With school athletic departments looking at multimillion-dollar obligations in new player benefits, more schools may look at alcohol sales as a way of increasing revenue. “It seems like it’s going that way, and I think you’ll see more doing it,” said Virginia Tech Athletics Director Whit Babcock. “But it’s a cultural issue at a place of higher education where there’s a tradition (of not selling it). I don’t know that it will be one of the top things on my agenda. But as more people do it … I’ll definitely be watching.”

While Babcock was Director of Athletics at the University of Cincinnati, beer was sold at most on-campus sporting events. “In my 2½ years there, we didn’t have any alcohol-related incidents, so it worked,” he said. “It opened my eyes that it could be done in a responsible way.”

Schools including Houston, Louisville, Memphis and Tulane all sell beer at their games. West Virginia started beer sales at football games in 2011. Arizona started to sell beer at home baseball games, played at an off-campus venue. The University of Texas earlier this year added beer and wine sales at some sporting events, including men’s and women’s basketball.

The NCAA does not sell alcohol at its championship sporting events, including the men’s basketball tournament, according to the newspaper. Most college athletic conferences leave the decision about whether to sell alcohol up to individual schools. The exception is the Southeastern Conference, which prohibits alcohol sales.

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