Though UCA allows alcohol during tailgating, it currently does not allow alcohol sales at athletic events and things do not look like they will change soon.
Several universities have resorted to selling alcohol at athletic events.
Many of these universities fall outside of the Power Five conferences, which include the Atlantic Coast Conference, Big 10, Big 12, Pacific-12 and the Southeastern Conference.
The SEC is the only one of the Power Five conferences that does not allow alcohol sales during athletic events.
The Power Five conferences fall into the Football Bowl Subdivision and make tremendous amounts of money when compared to their Football Championship Subdivision counterparts that prohibit alcohol sales, including UCA.
According to an espn.com article dated Aug. 22, 21 on-campus football stadiums allow fans of legal age to buy beer during games.
This number has doubled in the last five years and is growing every offseason.
Selling limits are put on alcohol sales, including requiring wristbands for fans who are 21 years old, limiting beer purchases to two at a time and cutting off sales at halftime or during the third quarter.
Most of these institutions only allow the sales in premium seating areas of the stadium.
According to the 2014-15 UCA Athletic Ticket Department open container policy, it is prohibited to consume or possess any alcoholic beverage in an open container on any public street, sidewalk, public parking facility or private property when the owner has not given consent to consume alcohol.
President Tom Courtway was concise about alcohol sales at UCA games.
“Alcohol will not be sold at UCA sporting events,” he said.
UCA Athletic Director Brad Teague shared Courtway’s sentiments toward alcohol sales and said Southland Conference schools do not make much money from these sales.
“We are not for it,” he said. “I don’t see many upsides to it for UCA. There are a few schools in the conference that do sell, and their revenue gain is not significant from sales.”
To comply with Faulkner County’s alcohol sales stance, UCA would have to acquire a license, UCA would have to acquire a license to sell alcohol during games, which could potentially become a grueling process.
Because the university allows alcohol during tailgating, students and fans often watch the game from outside Estes Stadium.
Estes Stadium has an estimated seating capacity of 9,000 and has averaged 8,636 people in the six games this season.
The lowest recorded attendance for a football game this season was against Houston Baptist University on Oct. 11, with a recorded attendance of 4,726.
However, it was a cold and rainy Saturday.
Senior Clint Hargis-Clay said selling alcohol would help game attendance and revenue, but said it could increase the need for security at games.
“I think it would grow sales pretty exponentially,” he said. “Many times people associate football with drinking beer, and if one isn’t present, then I could see how they wouldn’t want to leave the tailgating area. However, this might also increase the need for security at games because people might attempt to be more foolish and act like a punk.”
Sophomore Scott Burnett can see the benefits and problems with selling alcohol during events.
“We do and don’t need it,” he said. “I’m split because if we did have it here at UCA, it would possibly raise the attendance of younger people at football games and it would raise money for the university. On the other side, it’s bad because if you have alcohol at games, people could be getting drunk and end up making the university look bad.”
According to the aforementioned ESPN story, in the three years alcohol has been sold at West Virginia University, campus police reported that alcohol-related incidents at Mountaineer Field have declined sharply.
Several students seemed split on the issue at UCA.
Junior Campbell Shelton said he doesn’t see a problem with alcohol sales during a football game because people drink before the game.
“I think there is a pretty clear correlation between alcohol and college game attendance,” he said. “People who watch the Bears play tend to drink before the game anyway, so why not make a little money, or a lot of money, off that consistency.”
Senior Jacob Lowery said he would be more likely to come to games if alcohol was sold.
“I have never been too much of a sports guy, but I know had there been beer sales at UCA games when I turned 21, I would have turned up a few more times,” he said. “People need to look around at the other schools and see the revenue benefits. Also, I think that people would be a little better off safety-wise buying a $9 beer at the concession stand [rather]than chugging that 30-pack in the parking lot before the game.”
Many colleges, such as Virigina Tech, have seen crime decreases in drunk driving and rowdiness since allowing concession stand alcohol sales.
Since people are not as worried about “keeping their buzz” during the game if concession stands serve beer, they are less likely to overconsume and become rowdy fans or become dangers to others.
Safety is a major concern for UCA administration when voting for these decisions and, based on the nation’s statistics, it would seems as though alcohol sales at games have had a positive effect throughout the country.
Beer sales have not only helped these schools financially, but also with increasing student and pubic game attendance.
In the article, Troy University Athletic Director John Hartwell said beer sales would account for an estimated $200,000 in commissions this season.
Troy will receive 43 percent of gross beer sales at its 30,000 seat stadium, or better than $2 for every $5 beer.
Later in the article, Southern Methodist University saw gains in attendance after selling alcohol at basketball games for the first time with an average of 5,653 people.
The attendance was up 64 percent more than the 2012-13 season, which was its highest gain since 1984-85.
Though UCA will not be siding with the ordinance, it is still a topic of discussion that may swing either way over the next few years as game attendance and revenue fluctuate.