With hopes of keeping hoops and football games family friendly, University of Kentucky Athletic Director Mitch Barnhart announced Thursday the school will not be expanding alcohol sales to general seating areas this year, even though a new Southeastern Conference policy allows it to do so.
We say cheers to that.
While alcohol is already available for fans who buy their way into the premium-seating areas at UK sporting events, allowing an entire venue of those 21 and older access to alcohol would add fuel to an already burning fire: the passion surrounding big-time college athletics. School officials aren’t quite ready to be responsible for tens of thousands of imbibing football fans in the stands, even though the revenue from in-stadium adult beverage sales has the potential to be huge.
“It is our goal, as well as our responsibility, to create a safe, secure and positive, engaging environment for fans of all ages and from all walks of life,” Barnhart said in a press conference, touting that UK fans enjoy an outstanding college experience.
He added that the university will closely monitor other SEC schools that opted for public alcohol sales and continue to listen to fans but that this isn’t an issue UK wants to revisit every year.
While the school isn’t willing to loosen the reins on in-stadium adult beverage sales, it is should be doing more to curb pregame and postgame alcohol-consuming tailgaters. On any given game day, students — regardless of whether they are of legal drinking age — can be found binge drinking in the parking lot before games and staggering down campus streets afterward.
Would changing the stadium or arena policy to allow alcohol sales to all event-goers 21 and older deter fans from pregame and postgame partying? Probably not. College kids can be quite inventive when it comes to sneaking alcohol.
Regardless, UK seems to be picking and choosing what and who it wants to be responsible for, and apparently it’s those who are willing to shell out extra bucks for the luxury of consuming alcohol at Cats games.