Alcohol Sales at Michigan College Football Games Is A Massive Win
In the immortal words of LeBron James, "It's about damn time."
Truthfully, it's always been very puzzling to me that alcohol sales are so regulated at the college level of American football. Say what you will about the knuckle-dragging brute mentality of this stance, but football and beer go together like peanut butter and chocolate.
Thankfully, that regulation in Michigan, at least on the state level, is now over. Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed a bill, Senate Bill 247 for those counting, which will now allow public Michigan universities to sell alcoholic beverages at college football, basketball and hockey games.
Now it's up to the schools, but that's likely more of an inevitability than not. For Michigan State and Michigan, they'll become the 12th and 13th schools in the Big Ten to sell alcohol, so they're chomping at the bit at this point. Whitmer even pointed out that while fairness was the biggest emphasis of the bill, safety can be a positive angle here.
The nay-sayers will tell you that there's no way to equate safety to alcohol consumption, but that's incredibly short-sighted. Heck, one representative, Rep. Abraham Aiyash, D-Hamtramck, said fans should drink alcohol at the tailgate and drink 'regular' drinks during the game.
"You can enjoy Michigan State football or basketball, or Michigan football and basketball, with a nice glass of Coke or a bottle of water," Aiyash said. "Tailgates usually accomplish the goal of getting folks warmed up before the game."
What?! A bottle of water?
Oh, and they don't sell Coke in glass anymore. Welcome to 2023.
Respectfully, why are we trying to tell adults what they can and can't consume at sporting events when those rules don't apply at similar events? What, praytell Aiyash, is the difference between fans at a Lions or Wolverines football game? A Spartans or Pistons basketball game?
I get it, tailgating is a key part of the gameday experience. Party there to your heart's content. But to get absurdly drunk at the tailgate before entering the stadium is actually more dangerous for the consumer and those around them in the stadium. You don't need statistics for that argument, it's just common sense and critical thinking. Paced drinking is the way to go, and this new bill encourages it.
Then it comes to money for the universities themselves. Why encourage your fans to drink before and after the game, or worse yet sneak their own booze in, instead of pocketing $7 a pour per drinking customer during the contest?
That circles back to the fairness of who can consume alcohol inside the stadium. On what planet does it make sense that folks in the luxury boxes can drink but not the impassioned fans enduring blistering cold temperatures to actually watch their team compete? Is there some sort of suggestion that people with money are more responsible with alcohol? Because that thought, frankly, is ludicrous.
Besides, it's expensive to go to college football games. Beer at events is expensive. Tilt your nose down so the blood flows through your brain properly, please.
At the end of the day, this is about reasonable freedom, something that shouldn't be so silly to come by in this country. Restricting alcohol sales is something that, for lack of a better term, grinds my gears. Finally allowing legal-age drinkers the opportunity to enjoy themselves properly at games in Michigan is a long time coming.
But hey, a win is a win, and it's better late than never.
This is an opinion piece. All views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, Jacob Harrison, alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of Townsquare Media.