Alcohol at the Dome?
Published: Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, October 23, 2013 16:10
tudent government is looking into the possibility of allowing the sales of low-liquor alcohol at Bison games in the Fargodome.
Student senator Aaron Yaggie said he wants to make student government’s objectives crystal clear.
“We are not pro-alcohol; we are not promoting people to drink,” said Yaggie, a senior studying agriculture economics. “Student government just thinks [that allowing alcohol to be sold at Bison football games] would be a better way to handle some of the underlying problems.”
These “underlying problems” that occur on game days have sparked talks and debate between student government, NDSU administration and Fargodome officials.
Student government said that they believe this will be beneficial to the safety of NDSU students.
“Basically, what we are looking at is this huge problem of binge drinking before games,” Yaggie explained. “[Law enforcement] has done a good job cracking down on underage drinking before games, but the binge drinking is still really bad.”
By permitting and regulating the sales of alcohol, student government believes that ending the prohibition will cut down on “pre-gaming” and abuse of hard liquors.
“I don’t think I have ever been to a football game where I haven’t seen someone pulling out hard alcohol of a purse or shoe,” Yaggie said.
Student officials met with President Dean L. Bresciani on their proposition. The assembly discussed the hypothetical positives and negatives of lifting the ban, alongside other issues that needed to be addressed.
“For any change to happen,” Yaggie said, “the university would definitely need to see some facts [supporting] how exactly [selling alcohol at the Fargodome] would be beneficial.”
“At this time, I could not say the university is going to act [on student government’s proposals],” Bresciani said in a brief interview.
NDSU’s president cited somewhat “superficial conclusions” drawn to by student government, but he said that the students “have been commendable on studying this issue.”
In other words, more hard evidence. Student government must unearth more information that will support allowing alcohol at games.Student government, though, refuses to throw in the towel.
“Basically, we still have to do research,” Yaggie said. “We are [continuing to work] on creating an appropriate proposal that would turn this into a plausible plan with more benefits and negatives.”
The student senators behind the proposal have been in contact with officials at the University of North Dakota, because they sell alcohol at the school’s Ralph Engelstad Arena.
“The Ralph serves alcohol, [therefore, NDSU student government] looked into their risk management tools they use,” Yaggie said.
UND officials have implemented several of these tools over the years, including reducing the sizes of alcoholic containers from 32 oz. to 24 oz. in 2010.
The Ralph Engelstad Arena General Manager, Jody Hodgson, told WDAZ the changes were made because “we are committed to promoting responsible alcohol consumption that…reduces alcohol-related instances both in our facility and on surrounding roadways. We believe this proactive step is the right thing to do.”
Yaggie said that student government’s final plan would help increase revenue for the Fargodome in addition to cutting down on binge drinking before games. However, he explained that there would have to be negotiations with the Fargodome before any plans commence.
“[Student government] figures if we were allowed to serve alcohol in the dome, it would nearly pay for what it costs to rent the Fargodome for [Bison games], based off of projections,” Yaggie said.
Preliminary conversations have taken place between Yaggie and Rob Sobolik, General Manager of the Fargodome, to discuss logistics.
“Fargodome management would definitely be open to [selling alcohol],” said Sobolik, “because of the potential revenue source. In today’s world, everybody is always looking to find other revenue sources to combat always-rising costs.”
Rising costs include labor, heating and cooling and general maintenance of the 22-year old building.
As for enhanced security and safety precautions, Sobolik said he could foresee more security at Bison games where alcohol was served.