It’s now up to Western Carolina University’s Board of Trustees to decide whether to allow alcohol-beverage sales at Cullowhee sporting events.
Gov. Roy Cooper signed a bill last week permitting colleges to sell alcohol during games. WCU officials told the Herald in March it supported the idea of letting campus communities choose for themselves; however, university leaders would have to weigh the pros and cons, they said.
Proponents argue offering beer and wine at concession stands is a safer approach than limiting drinking to pre-game tailgates. WCU administrators have concerns, though, such as how alcohol at campus venues would impact security and when concession workers would stop serving.
Many sporting venues cease alcohol distribution before the event is over – at the end of the third quarter of a football game, for example.
WCU officials also would have to budget for the additional revenues. For now, profits from concession stands are split between WCU’s Department of Athletics and Aramark, the university’s campus dining partner. The athletic department receives 25 percent. That money isn’t directed toward any specific expenditure or sport.
The total dollar amount varies from year to year, officials say, based on team performance, the number of home games, when the games are scheduled and how many events are affected by weather. University concessions generated $123,325 for fiscal year 2017-18.
During a meeting in June, WCU trustees discussed the then-proposed law but gave no indication how they would vote. Board members will meet next on Thursday, Sept. 6, and Friday, Sept. 7.