RALEIGH, N.C. — A bill authorizing boards of trustees at University of North Carolina system schools to decide whether to sell alcohol at their stadiums and athletic facilities has cleared the final hurdle in the General Assembly.
The House voted 88-25 on Wednesday to approve the Senate version of the bill, sending the measure to Gov. Roy Cooper's desk for his signature. Cooper has not said whether he is in favor of the bill or not. A spokeswoman for Cooper said he will review it before making a decision.
Supporters of the bill say it gives universities an additional source of revenue and greater control to curb unsafe drinking habits. Opponents worry that it would create a disruptive atmosphere at athletic events and exacerbate drinking problems.
Previous: We learned North Carolina was moving closer to allowing beer and wine sales at college games under a bill that advanced in a committee on Thursday, June, 13.
“I wouldn’t even have been interested in it if I thought that in any way it was going to cause any adverse effects,” Sen. Rick Gunn (R-Guilford/Alamance) said.
To view the bill, click here.
Under this measure, the trustees of each public college and university would have the choice of whether to authorize sales. Gunn said if the bill passes, schools could move forward with this during the upcoming school year. Sales of mixed drinks would not be allowed.
“The universities have committed that they will follow the letter of the law, which ABC has pretty strict guidelines. They will offer the right training. A lot of them will be using third-party vendors, who are experienced,” said Gunn.
It’s been a growing trend across the country as more colleges and universities have authorized alcohol sales, saying it gives them more control over consumption on game days.
On Thursday, Texas A&M said it will allow beer and wine sales at football games this fall after the SEC adopted new guidelines. Middle Tennessee State University also announced it’ll have a beer garden available at football games this fall as well.
Most schools within the UNC system have expressed support for the bill.
“I think it’ll make it a lot more fun,” said James Britt, a student at North Carolina State. “I’m confident in the fact that people will just drink responsibly.”
Other fans are concerned.
“It can also cause rowdiness. I already know the pre-games and the tailgates, people get pretty drunk. So, adding more alcohol to the situation might not help much,” said Troy Luddy, a senior at N.C. State.
Before Indiana University authorized alcohol sales at home football games earlier this year, the school worked with a consulting firm to study the impact of sales at other schools, according to the Associated Press. A consulting firm, Wasserman, found that Ohio State and West Virginia saw decreases in game day alcohol-related incidents after offering sales in stadiums, the AP reported.