In February, 2022, a post “Golfballs, Football & Booze” on the Franklin Stove Blog (FSB) mentioned “the night trash was tossed on the field in a Vols’ loss to Ole Miss.” In addition to a golf ball, as reported in the Knoxville News Sentinel by Adam Sparks, beer cans were also showered down upon the Ole Miss Rebels.
Mississippi‘s head coach Lane Kiffin even pulled a stunt later, according to ESPN‘s Alex Scarborough, where he threw a golf ball during the ceremonial first pitch before a Rebels‘ baseball matchup with the Tennessee Vols at the Rebels‘ baseball field. Kiffin had kept the yellow golf ball that he had been pelted with at the football game in Knoxville.
Now, Al.com‘s Michael Casagrande has reported that beer may be sold in T-Town at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Casagrande wrote:
The war of words between the City of Tuscaloosa and the University of Alabama appears to be over with a celebration over drinks to come.
After rare public sparring over a plan to sell alcohol at Crimson Tide sporting events, the two sides announced a detente Wednesday. With it, Alabama’s plan to introduce booze sales at sporting events is back in motion, according to a statement from athletics director Greg Byrne.
The FSB reported about the February 8, 2022, Tuscaloosa City Council meeting when Herbert Tesh had representated Levy Premium Foodservice: “During the public hearing on February 8, the food service’s representative Tesh had said that ‘hawking’ (the selling of alcohol by concession stand workers to seated fans) at football games might be a possibility in the future if the council would approve such sales.”
A three dollar public safety fee that would be added to ticket charges for Alabama football games, had been discussed by the Council. Alabama athletics director Greg Byrne was irate about such a charge. He said, “It is very unfortunate that the city of Tuscaloosa’s plan would unreasonably target Alabama Athletics and our fans with a service fee on all tickets where alcohol is sold, even tickets sold to children.”
The Tuscaloosa News‘ Jason Morton wrote in an article published on February 13, 2022, about the new fees. “According to a 2015 report by the online sports publication SBNation.com, the University of Alabama is the only SEC school that relies on the municipal public safety departments for security during its sporting events while shouldering none of the costs.”
On February 14, 2022, in the Tuscaloosa News, Nick Kelly and Jason Morton reported: “Alabama athletics director Greg Byrne put out a statement Monday on Twitter stating that the department ‘will not be moving forward with alcohol sales at this time’ pending further review of a service fee policy that the Tuscaloosa City Council amended during its Feb. 8 meeting.”
[During an interview on the Tide 1009 radio program] (Mayor) “Maddox referenced last season’s football game between Ole Miss and the Tennessee Volunteers in Knoxville, Tennessee’s Neyland Stadium – where alcohol currently is sold – that was delayed for 20 minutes with orange-clad fans took issue with a fourth quarter call by officials and pelted the field with debris.”
Bama Central‘s Joey Blackwell reported on the details of a University of Alabama press release about future stadium alcohol sales:
According to the press release, UA will provide specialty service funding to cover the increased fire and rescue, police, transportation and infrastructure services that are needed on game days in Tuscaloosa. UA also introduced a new scholarship program intended to raise funds for scholarships for Tuscaloosa police officers and firefighters.
The University Press Release included:
The agreement continues existing shared services arrangements and adds specialty services funding from UA to the City of Tuscaloosa to cover other community event services like enhanced fire and rescue, transportation, and infrastructure services.
The agreement will replace the proposed service fee on UA events.
Nick Kelly and Jason Morton reported in The Tuscaloosa News that: “Starting in 2024, the agreement calls for UA to contribute $250,000 to City Hall by Jan. 31 of each year through 2028.”
Arrests for drunk and disorderly conduct or intoxication at college football stadiums where alcohol is sold have been commonplace.
ABC-8/WFAA‘s Kyle Iboshi wrote about “Beer Fights and Bad Behavior” at college football games:
“You couple alcohol with the upped emotions, the intensity, screaming and yelling and you have some potential for issues,” explained Brian Baxter, sports psychologist and director of the Sport Psychology Institute Northwest.
Across the country, stadium security kicked out thousands of college football fans for illegal consumption or public drunkenness.
For many fans, the drinking begins well before kick-off. Tailgating outside college football stadiums often includes copious amounts of beer, wine and liquor.
A FSB post on January 28, 2022 reported:
Paul Steinbach in his 2004 article “Sporting Events and Booze a Volatile Mix” called for “effective alcohol management’ policies.
He wrote about the role of beer service employees at ball parks:
“Most parks now include video surveillance equipment that can home in on specific seat locations, but beer hawkers, concessions-stand workers and ushers equipped only with their own eyes are also relied upon to recognize the tell-tale signs of intoxication, or in some cases the mere probability of intoxication. A hawker who sees a stack of empty cups beneath the seat of a single fan may opt to avoid eye contact with that individual or avoid his or her section altogether. A concessions-stand worker who recognizes repeat visits by one individual must keep in mind that it takes at least one hour for the average fan to metabolize the alcohol that is found in two 12-ounce beers. As a large button pinned to his or her uniform typically states, any vendor reserves the right to refuse service.“
Will the University of Alabama‘s “specialty service” funding be adequate to cover the increased public safety costs of game day activity? The amount agreed upon by the University of $250,000 is only a small fraction of the amount that a $3 per ticket public safety fee would have generated.
Greg Byrne has been fully determined that alcohol will be sold at the stadium. T-Town will be further awash in booze on game days if he has his way.