The college football season is now in full swing, and with it comes beer sales at stadiums. But even as more campuses are doing it, one family advocate says it's "bad policy."
Several universities have made decisions in recent years to allow beer sales at games. Joining the list this year is Ohio University, whose first home game is this weekend (September 2). As reported by The Columbus Dispatch and The Associated Press, the decision comes after feedback from customer surveys.
Before suds can flow at Peden Stadium during Bobcat home games, a permit must be issued by the state's Division of Liquor Control. The school – which emphasizes that implementation of beer sales was made with the input from, and support of, the Ohio University Police Department – will add an alcohol-free zone for fans. And while beer won't be sold on the student side of the stadium, nothing is in place to prevent students from taking beer to their seats.
Rev. Mark Creech is executive director of the Christian Action League of North Carolina, Inc. and former president of what is now the American Council on Addiction and Alcohol Problems. Creech sees issues with the trend in light of rising levels of alcohol abuse among those who are under-aged – and according to him, most of the students who attend the games fall into that age category.
"I think it's really troubling to see the cavalier and even celebratory manner that our culture has embraced concerning alcohol in recent years," he tells OneNewsNow. "And there is nowhere on the planet where youth are subjected to more erroneous views about drinking than on a college campus."
Creech argues that allowing for the sale of beer sends the message that the only way to have fun is to drink alcohol.
"When you combine this with the way that [most] students ... already see drinking at college as an integral part of their educational experience – as a rite of passage, if you will – it exacerbates the problems of underage drinking, binge drinking, and its consequential trail of sorrows that includes nearly 2,000 students dying from some alcohol-related incident annually," he continues.
Creech adds: "That's not to mention the hundreds of thousands of unintentional injuries, assaults, cases of sexual assault and date rape, and students who develop an alcohol problem and then drop out of school."
Other related concerns have been raised about driving under the influence in and around an area with thousands of spectators, many of them tailgating before and after games.
Ohio's five other Mid-American Conference schools sell beer during football games. The Ohio State University, which is in another conference, raised $1.1 million last season after it began selling beer at football games. Regardless, says Creech, "what Ohio University has done is a bad policy."
He concludes: "It's a shame that the university is in a chase for more revenue, and, in doing so, allowing so many lives to be put at risk."