CEDAR FALLS, Iowa — The University of Northern Iowa has announced they will begin alcohol sales at their home opener football game Saturday against Southern Utah.
“We’re going to start with beer right now and see how it goes. We might expand into wine,” said Jerek Wolcott, assistant athletic director for communications. “These are conversations that we’ve been having for a long time. A lot of people across the country have wanted this and are doing this at all levels of college athletics.”
Wolcott said there had been many communications from concession operators to the UNI president’s office about this move. The school had limited alcohol sales a year ago.
“In the suites in the dome and Panther Patio in the McLeod Center, there were alcohol sales, and that was again the proving ground where we make sure that we can do this right and do it responsibly,” said Wolcott. “Revenue always goes into it but it’s a fan experience. We want people to relax and have a good time at our games.”
On campus, students reacted with favor to the announcement.
‘I’m not of legal age, so I’m not excited about it, but I mean I think it’s a good idea,” said Antwan Kimmons, UNI student from St. Paul, Minnesota. “If it’s like other games, any other college has it, we should have it for our students that are of legal age.”
“I think it’s fine. They do it at a lot of other schools, so it’s everyone’s personal preference,” said Emma Carr, a UNI student from Dallas, Texas.
“It won’t factor into what I do on the sidelines. That’s all that matters,” said Panthers head football coach Mark Farley. “I think it’s a fan friendly thing personally. I think it’s good for the fans. I think it’s good for the program.”
“We also looked at what other schools are seeing,” said Wolcott. “If you look at Arizona State, they said incidents decline in their events after opening up alcohol sales because people are not over-consuming before they come into the arena.”