With beer now being sold at certain University sporting events, campus police are closely monitoring games to catch any spikes or decreases in safety issues, according to UTPD spokeswoman Cindy Posey.
The University announced Feb. 27 that alcohol will be sold at spring sporting events as part of a trial, which will help UT Athletics, UTPD, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission and the UT Athletics concessionaire determine whether or not alcohol should be sold at other sporting events.
“This trial will be in effect this spring for all remaining men’s and women’s basketball, softball and baseball games, and the fan fest area at the Texas Relays,” men’s athletics director Steve Patterson said in the announcement. “We could look into expanding it for other sports events next fall provided the outcome of the trial is positive.”
According to Posey, UTPD will oversee the trial along with UT Athletics and inform other University officials of any problems.
“They’re just watching closely, and that is what UTPD will also do,” Posey said. “We’ll be monitoring to report to athletics if there’s any difference.”
Posey said UTPD will not increase the number of police patrols.
West Virginia University — one of two other Big 12 universities allowing alcohol sales at athletics events — saw a 35 percent decrease in the number of game day alcohol-related incidents after authorizing the sale of alcohol at games, according to West Virginia University Police statistics. Posey said UTPD is not anticipating any changes in the number of alcohol-related cases on game days.
“We’re not expecting really anything; we’re just going to watch to see what happens,” Posey said. “We are in observation mode, just like athletics is.”
Excessive consumption of alcohol prior to fans’ arrival to the games is often a concern, according to Posey.
“We know that they pre-party when there’s no alcohol [sold at games], and now they’ll be drinking at the gate,” Posey said. “So we’ll be very diligent.”
Finance senior Sunny Das, a former student government representative who helped spearhead student efforts to implement beer sales at sporting events, said he thinks the beer sales will result in a safer, more enjoyable experience for students.
“Many people when they do get to the games still have a buzz going, but, by halftime, that buzz kind of goes away, and most students who do leave to continue drinking just never come back,” Das said. “By having beer there, they at least have incentive to stay at the game and keep their spirits high.”
Das said he believes the initiative could reduce the amount of drinking that happens before games and the amount of alcohol smuggled into sporting events.
“Because there isn’t regulated beer sold at football games, people take other methods to bring alcohol in,” Das said. “And if there’s beer there, they won’t drink as much because they know once they get to the game they can have that one or two beers during halftime rather than chugging one or two beers before heading to the game.”