The sale of alcohol at Miami University athletic events has always been limited, but beginning in 2006, the sale of alcohol at athletic functions was banned altogether. Today, this policy remains just as strict.
According to Mark Rountree, Miami’s deputy athletic director, spectators can tailgate and consume alcohol before the game, but this alcohol cannot be brought into the athletic event. Rountree said he thinks Miami’s alcohol policy is important for everyone involved in the athletic function.
“From an athletic standpoint, we are trying to create a safe and healthy atmosphere for families and athletes,” he said.
The Ohio State University (OSU), known nationally for its strong athletic program, shares a similar view. However, the school’s policy is not as strict as Miami’s, according to Denny Hoobler, the associate athletic director at OSU.
OSU sells alcohol at men’s and women’s basketball games and men’s ice hockey games. However, the alcohol is restricted to the club level of the event center. This level is separate from students and other spectators.
“The intent is that we wanted to keep it off the main level with students,” Hoobler said. “Beer is a big money maker, but it’s a liability issue with college students.”
According to Claire Wagner, Miami director of university news and communications, Miami received a recommendation in 2006 to end all alcohol sales. Before this recommendation became policy in 2006, the only alcohol sales at athletic events were from a beer tent at the football games that was sponsored by the Miami Alumni Association and Intercollegiate Athletics program.
Wagner said the beer tent was a small booth at the Miami football games that would sell beer to spectators of legal drinking age. However, with the majority of Miami undergraduate students unable to drink legally, the beer sales did not earn significant profits, according to Wagner.
Wagner explained that the university rarely receives complaints from spectators or athletes about the alcohol policy.
“[The policy] reinforces the message that this is an academic, learning and healthy environment, and alcohol is not part of that equation,” Wagner said.
Wagner added that the university has seen little profit from alcohol sales in the past, and sees no reason for incurring the additional risk that alcohol brings to events. The sale of alcohol requires an increase in the number of security officers at games and increases the risk of fights and altercations, according to Hoobler.
Sophomore Katie Lincoln, a defensive player on the Miami women’s ice hockey team, agreed with this policy.
“You do not need alcohol to have a successful event,” she said. ” It just isn’t necessary.”
Miami is focused on fostering a safe academic environment both inside and outside the classroom, according to Wagner. She also noted that this policy, which has been in affect for seven years is not likely to change because the university does not consider the revenue potential from alcohol sales a sufficient justification to introduce the risks and liabilities associated with alcohol consumption.