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Aug. 16, 2023

Trustees change policies to permit alcohol sales at events

Ahead of the fall athletics season, the Michigan State University Board of Trustees held a special meeting Wednesday to adjust university alcohol policies regulating the sale of alcohol in certain venues on campus.

In a unanimous vote, trustees approved amendments to the university’s alcoholic beverage ordinances and discussed efforts to address binge drinking at athletics events.

“The actions we are taking today create a better fan experience for Spartans and those visiting our athletic venues,” said Board Chair Rema Vassar. “Amending our alcoholic beverage ordinance to limit alcohol-related incidents creates a more welcoming and enjoyable atmosphere for everyone.”

Recent data from peer institutions show regulating the purchase of alcohol during athletic events reduces binge drinking and alcohol-related incidents, making it unnecessary for fans to overconsume alcohol knowing they will have access to regulated sales in the venue. In the first year of sales, alcohol-related incidents at Ohio State University, Indiana University and University of Iowa decreased by 30% or more, according to each institutions’ reports.

The updated ordinance follows Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s signature on bipartisan legislation allowing alcohol to be sold at collegiate athletic competitions.

The board’s action also brings MSU in line with most other Big Ten peer institutions, becoming the 13th university to sell or announce plans to sell alcohol to the general public in athletic venues and the 10th university to offer alcohol throughout its football stadium. MSU plans to leverage the new revenue source to strengthen student programming, substance use disorder support resources and campus infrastructures.

“This decision improves the gameday experience for members of our community as they come together to support our university,” said Alan Haller, vice president and director of intercollegiate athletics at MSU. “Providing the opportunity for fans to safely and responsibly consume alcohol at Spartan Stadium and some of our other venues offers them the same amenities they enjoy when supporting Spartans on the road at many of our Big Ten peer institutions.”

The university plans for sales to begin during the MSU vs. Washington football game at Spartan Stadium on Sept. 16, pending approved licensing from the state, procurement of equipment and appropriate staff training. Additional future venues would potentially include Breslin Students Events Center, Munn Ice Arena and Old College Field.

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