Michigan lawmakers introduce plan to allow alcohol sales at college football, basketball, hockey games

Plan would allow universities to sell alcohol at football, basketball, hockey games

Michigan Stadium before a game between Michigan and the Washington Huskies on Sept. 11, 2021 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Gregory Shamus, 2021 Getty Images)

ANN ARBOR, Mich.Michigan lawmakers have introduced a new plan that would allow alcohol to be sold at college football, basketball, and hockey games.

Rep. Graham Filler (R-Clinton County), Rep. Joe Tate (D-Detroit), and Sen. Curtis Hertel (D-East Lansing) presented the plan, which would lift Michigan’s alcohol ban at on-campus events and allow university governing boards to apply for liquor licenses.

If this plan is approved, universities will be allowed to sell alcohol at football, basketball, and hockey stadiums during events.

“This is a fairness and freedom issue that will allow for a modern, more enjoyable college game-day experience, but it’s also a public health and safety issue,” Filler said. “Data from universities in other states clearly shows that the number of alcohol-related incidents inside stadiums declines when alcohol sales are allowed. Instead of binge drinking in the parking lot or sneaking alcohol into the stadium, fans can simply purchase a beer in the concourse.”

The lawmakers pointed out that eight of the 14 current members of the Big Ten Conference allow alcohol sales at football games.

“After Ohio State started selling alcohol stadium-wide in 2016, university police reported a 65% drop in alcohol-related incidents inside the stadiums,” a release states.

“It’s simply a matter of fairness,” Hertel said. “Alcohol is served at MSU football games now, but only if you’re lucky enough to watch the game in a suite. Beer at the game should be allowed for more than just rich donors. Beyond that, there is overwhelming evidence that shows selling alcohol inside the stadium significantly reduces binge drinking on game days.”

House Bill 6289 and Senate Bill 1125 would allow the Michigan Liquor Control Commission to issue up to three tavern licenses or three Class C liquor licenses to be used for events within the public areas of university football, basketball, and hockey stadiums.

Alcohol sales would be permitted two hours before and after each game.

“The data is clear that allowing alcoholic beverages in venues during sporting events lowers the probability of excessive alcohol consumption,” said Tate, who co-sponsored the legislation in the House.

The measures have been referred to the House and Senate Regulatory Reform committees for consideration.

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Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.