Alcohol banned from Cal-State sport events

By Becky Bartindale U-WIRE

Drinking beer at Spartan football games is now a thing of the past under a California State University decision to ban alcohol sales at college athletic events at its 23 campuses.

A CSU spokeswoman estimated about a half-dozen of the system’s 23 campuses -including San Jose State – had been selling alcohol at games in the past year.

Alcoholic beverages have traditionally been sold to adults over 21 at Spartan Stadium, where the football team plays home games. But under the new rule, it can no longer be sold there, said university spokeswoman Nancy Stake.

Stake said she had no information about alcohol sales at basketball games, which are played at the campus Event Center. The baseball team plays a majority of its home games at San Jose Municipal Stadium, and beer apparently will continue to be sold there because the facility is not owned or operated by the university.

San Jose State President Don Kassing said the full impact of the new policy still was being evaluated, but said he didn’t see it as significant. Alcohol sales produce a “modest amount of revenue” for a university auxiliary, Spartan Shops, which operates the stadium, he said, “but I can’t tell you how much.”

Stanford University and University of California-Berkeley do not sell alcoholic beverages at athletic events. At Santa Clara University, those who lease private suites at the basketball arena and the baseball stadium can purchase alcoholic beverages from the university’s caterer, an athletics department spokesman said. Santa Clara also is among a large group of schools that doesn’t accept any alcohol advertising in athletics venues, which can provide a significant source of cash for athletic programs.

CSU has spent the past few years working on its alcohol policies, trying to reduce alcohol abuse and encouraging the legal and responsible use of alcohol. It still allows alcoholic beverage sales on campus, but with the new policy, joins a growing number of colleges and universities that have banned booze sales at games.

“This is fundamentally rooted in colleges and universities working hard to address an environment that helps people understand the use of alcohol,” Kassing said.

The CSU policy, an executive order signed by Chancellor Charles Reed on Dec. 23 during the winter break, prohibits alcohol sales at “athletic events held in university owned or operated facilities.” It also regulates advertising of alcoholic drinks on campus, including athletics facilities.

The new policy allows schools with existing contracts related to the sale of alcoholic beverages to run their course, but the contracts may not be renewed.

Sales of beer and wine at a cafe on San Jose State’s campus could continue under the new policy.