West Virginia’s Solution To Drunkenness? More Beer

“Pregaming” was a big part of watching college football for me when I was in school, as I’m sure it was (or is, or will be) for you. If a nice, happy buzz for a noon kickoff is your thing, you’ve got to get your drink on by 8 or 9 in the morning. West Virginia University thinks that’s too much drinking for one morning, and instead would like you to pound your brews at the stadium itself, according to a proposal submitted to the school.

“We rely on our public safety folks to advise us, and they believe that there are two periods of binge drinking at our tailgates — one is pregame, when people quote-unquote get their buzz on, and then at halftime,” says [WVU athletic director Oliver] Luck, who admits his beer sales proposal may seem counterintuitive. “We can take care of halftime; we can’t really take care of pregame. And so we think that controlled sales will lead to folks feeling as though they don’t have to consume as much alcohol as possible” before entering the stadium.

The plan does permit students of age to drink, provided that they are not sitting in designated student sections. This actually makes some degree of sense if the beer sales are affordable and closely monitored, and it sounds like the Mountaineers are planning to satisfy both of those. Selling alcohol at the stadium itself also ensures that employees are trained to identify and deal with drunken behavior, as required by law pretty much everywhere. Naturally, not everyone is terribly impressed with this plan:

West Virginia’s alcohol sales fate could be sealed June 3, when the Board of Governors is likely to decide whether to rewrite established policy prohibiting alcohol sales in any WVU athletic venues. The logic of Luck’s proposal has been questioned in countless small-town newspaper editorials, yet it is supported by WVU’s president…

If you’re a 21-year-old and you have the chance to buy beer legally at the stadium, would you do that instead of trying to cram all of your drinking in beforehand, or trying to smuggle a flask in your back pocket? I think you would.