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Should alcohol be sold in Kinnick?

BY DI EDITORIAL STAFF | SEPTEMBER 06, 2011 7:20 AM

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Yes

As a colleague of mine commented so poignantly, it’s a historically egalitarian issue by nature, a simple matter, in principle, of the haves and the have-nots.

Why should we, these huddling masses — the tired, the hungry, the maddeningly thirsty — be denied the simple and distinctly American luxury of alcoholic indulgence, especially in an arena (both literal and not) so rooted in the splendid traditions of rowdiness, camaraderie, and yes, occasional foul-mouthed belligerence. To the common man, to the student, these realities all seem to reflect and even epitomize the inebriated loveliness that is Hawkeye passion, the Iowa state of mind. On these given Saturdays, it is not the beer, the booze, or the bewilderment that makes us fans. It is the ability to choose that makes us American, that allows us the beauty of tradition, that affords us the inalienable comforts of merriment and most colorful chaos.

This is not an issue of division or percentages or exceptions to regulation. This is an issue of yes or no. If the big-wigs and fat-pockets can enjoy a cold brew or a cocktail during the viewing of their sport of choice, why then should the students, the staff, and the further faithful not be afforded the same pleasure?

What few students are aware of is that alcohol is sold at Iowa football games. What even fewer are aware of is that as of Sunday, Iowa stands in second place atop the list of Big Ten schools that sold alcohol at home football games last year. In the 2010 season, 22,000 alcoholic beverages were sold at home games, lagging behind only the University of Wisconsin.

From an economic standpoint, allowing alcohol sales throughout the stadium presents economic advantages as well. Alcohol sales to only a percentage of fans brought an additional $111,000 into Kinnick Stadium last season.

This is an issue, like so many today, of safety versus rights to equality. In a matter such as this, in a city such as this, involving people such as these, the reality of a preferential system (even one of alcohol sales) on our own school grounds would be sad and shameful. I am in no way an advocate for the increase of drunken debauchery and moronic misconduct, yet the reality of drinking at football games has found itself, for better or for worse, historically embedded in the social and communal tapestry that makes the university football experience what it is today.

I say, let us drink — not only some of us, but all of us, as one.

— Samuel Clearly

No

There’s a reason almost no Division-I schools provide alcohol to their student sections.

After the first game of the season, and the second season-opener operating under the new, totalitarian, tailgate regulations, many UI students and fans continue their search for an alcohol-friendly safe haven.

Many may wonder, “Wait, what about Kinnick?”

It may come as a surprise to a few, but Kinnick does sell alcohol — you just have to be a premium suite owner to gain access, which is fine with me. Get back to me when you find one of our elite alumni pissing on the fans below them (literal interpretations only, please).

I tend to advocate for more alcohol, in more places, at more times, but I also don’t want people to die. If alcohol were available to the student section for three quarters of the 6 p.m. Northwestern game, on top of an entire day of tailgating, things will get ugly. If the Wildcats pulled off their fourth upset in four years, I would fear for the lives of people wearing purple shirts anywhere within six miles of our student section.

Only around three dozen Division-I football stadiums (out of more that 120) allow alcohol to be purchased, most only selling to premium seat holders. I saw this and thought, well, there has to be a legitimate reason for this, and there is.

The University of Colorado banned alcohol at its football games in 1996. In order to gauge the effects of the new regulations, officials gathered both police and survey data. They found that the ban led to “dramatic decreases in arrests, assaults, ejections from the stadium, and student referrals to the judicial-affairs office.”

In other words, the ban was better for the future careers of the student body. One assault or one public intoxication citation is an overwhelming barrier to a many desirable job titles.

Also, I don’t want to step in more vomit and urine at Kinnick than I already do. My Daily Iowansalary doesn’t necessarily allow for a huge Air Jordan budget.

We’ve sold out 50 of the past 52 regular-season games at Kinnick. Our football fanaticism is famous on a national scale. We’re the No. 4 party school in the nation. The way we tailgate, we don’t need any more alcohol to fuel our fans inside the stadium.

— Chris Steinke


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