Who hasn’t tripped on a Fireball shooter as they left a Husker game? Maybe I’m the only person who has tripped on one, but I know I am not the only person to see the scattered remnants of a college kid's rebellious good time.
It’s no secret that alcohol is a part of the Nebraska fan experience. Students are not alone in their rule-breaking ways, but they seem to embody the cultural idea of it. It became even more evident that the University was well aware of its students’ habits when a blind-eye was turned to alcohol consumption during tailgates in front of the Union.
On Feb. 11, the Board of Regents will consider ending the long-standing ban against alcohol sales at Nebraska athletic events. If the ban is reversed, it would be a first step toward alcohol at Husker games — not an immediate approval of them.
Alcohol sales would benefit Husker athletics. There is a long way to go before these sales are a reality, but that’s a good thing. There are a number of factors to consider — in addition to logistics to be organized — before one could find real-time alcoholic comfort for a Husker loss.
It’s no secret that the 2021 football season was a hard one for Nebraska fans. The Huskers’ proud sellout streak nearly came to an end had it not been for donors buying the remaining tickets. Amid a national decline in college football attendance and fewer Huskers attending games in past seasons than actually bought tickets, alcohol sales could be a solution to help bolster attendance numbers.
The men’s basketball team fell victim to the same problem regarding high sales but low attendance last season. Their dismal record this season leads me to believe the problem likely continues this year.
Alcohol sales alone may not save our major athletic programs, but it is much easier to watch the Huskers advance their losing record with a cold one in hand.
As more and more college programs have begun selling alcoholic beverages at their sporting events, the negative consequences many anticipated did not come to light.
Initially, I thought making alcohol available at Nebraska athletics would hurt the fan environment. There’s nothing worse than people drunkenly stumbling into you and speaking way too loud, completely distracting from the game you’re there to see.
However, when North Carolina colleges began selling alcoholic beverages during their games, they actually saw an overall decline in ejections. There is also some speculation that alcohol sales within the venue helps discourage binge drinking before the event. Instead of students or fans getting as plastered as possible before they enter the stadium, they are able to drink at a slower, more controlled pace.
There is an unhealthy relationship with alcohol on college campuses, but this rule change could help encourage healthier habits by making drinking less of a rebellious activity and more of a social norm.
As I said earlier, reversing the total ban on alcohol sales is only a first step. There are a lot of logistics to organize before beer and wine in Memorial Stadium becomes a reality. But having that time to prepare may make the possible transition much smoother.
There is the matter of infrastructure; Memorial Stadium is not set up to store and sell alcohol, so there would be a need to find a way around that. While Pinnacle Bank Arena and Haymarket Park already sell alcohol at non-university events, there still need to be considerations regarding more law enforcement patrolling for potential abusers of the new amenity, in addition to measures put in place to protect those who imbibe as well as those who don’t.
Students and Nebraska fans can begin their hope for beer in Memorial as so many dream about. But let that dream take some time to become reality, so it can be all the better for everyone.
One last thing I would like to mention is in regards to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln being a dry campus. I do believe it would be hypocritical to allow of age Huskers to drink at games, but then have it be against the rules for them to continue after they return to their on-campus housing. Hopefully, this will be something the Board of Regents considers while they take their time to implement any decisions they may make.
There are a lot of hypotheticals to ponder right now. As students and administrators contemplate the possibility of this highly beneficial decision, let’s all keep reality a part of this dream. Game days should be a great experience for everyone, including those that do or do not indulge, those that are there to make it a safe environment and those who must bear responsibility for any mishaps.
Megan Buffington is a freshman journalism major. Reach her at email@example.com.