The Indianapolis-based NCAA Division I Board of Directors has approved a pilot program allowing alcohol sales at certain championship games. The board ruled that beer and wine will be sold in general seating at the College World Series and Women’s College World Series this year.
It is the first time that alcohol will be available to the general public at an NCAA championship. Alcohol sales were first allowed in club and premium seats at the College World Series in 2013.
Board members waived the rule prohibiting such sales at Division I championships in order to approve the pilot program, but that waiver came with some restrictions. Only beer and wine will be sold but liquor will not. Sales will take place at concession stands only and not by roving vendors. Also, alcohol sales will only be available at the final championship sites.
"Part of the impetus for the decision came from school reports that indicated once they started selling alcohol at events, alcohol-related incidents declined sharply," the NCAA said in a statement. "Theories suggest that making alcohol available in the stadium prevents incidents of binge drinking before events and discourages people from attempting to bring outside alcohol into the venue."
The NCAA says its staff will work with law enforcement in Omaha, Nebraska and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, where both championships will be played, to monitor alcohol-related incidents. That information, combined with statistics from previous years, will be given to NCAA board members as they decide on the future of alcohol sales at championship events.