Penn State

Penn State trustees approve alcohol sales at sports venues


Raise a glass to the idea of raising a glass at Beaver Stadium.

On Friday, the Penn State board of trustees voted to allow alcohol sales at the famed football field and other sports venues.

The rule change will only affect certain high-end opportunities, like suites or club seats, or non-university events outside of the regular school year.

But not everyone was happy about the idea.

“I think it’s sad to think people can’t have an enjoyable experience without alcohol,” said trustee Betsy Huber. “In spite of our efforts to curb student drinking, we are unsuccessful. We are sending the wrong message to our students.”

She was not alone.

Emeritus trustee David Jones called the measure a “crass grab for money,” saying, “It’s beneath Penn State.”

Athletic Director Sandy Barbour said in a committee meeting Thursday that with the possibility of bringing in major sporting events like the NHL Winter Classic, the rule change could mean $1 million to $2 million per event to the university, not just through alcohol sales but with tickets and other revenue.

Trustee Alice Pope said she had reservations but was reassured by information from the first test outings at the Bryce Jordan Center, which began a pilot program with limited alcohol offerings in 2015. Eight concerts with three artists have occurred so far.

According to Vice President of Finance and Business David Gray, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board has expressed support for how well the Penn State events have gone.

President Eric Barron also told the committee on Thursday that there were actually fewer incidents involving alcohol than when liquor is not sold, something he attributed to the practice of binge-drinking before attending a dry concert.

Lori Falce: 814-235-3910, @LoriFalce