Politics & Government

Let NC’s public universities sell beer and wine at games, state lawmakers say

Public universities would have the option to allow beer and wine sales at athletic facilities under a new proposal in North Carolina.
Public universities would have the option to allow beer and wine sales at athletic facilities under a new proposal in North Carolina. clowenst@newsobserver.com

Public universities would have the option to allow beer and wine sales at athletic facilities under a new proposal from two Republican state lawmakers.

House Majority Leader John Bell, R-Wayne, on Twitter Thursday announced he and Sen. Rick Gunn, R-Alamance, are going to file a bill next week that would open up the possibility for state colleges to sell beer and wine at games if the schools’ boards of trustees agree to such sales.

“We’ve heard from law enforcement, administrators & students & believe this is a positive step for safety & economic growth,” Bell tweeted.

Currently, the Atlantic Coast Conference does not ban the sale of alcohol at games. In fact alcohol is sold at the ACC’s men’s basketball tournament and football championship games.

Alcohol is also allowed in some college venues in premium spaces, but is not sold to the general public.

If this bill passes, that means you might be able to purchase a craft beer at the next Duke-Carolina game at the Dean Dome.

This bill comes after colleges and athletic conferences have loosened alcohol policies in recent years. In 2017, N.C. State Athletic Director Debbie Yow told WRAL Sports Fan that the university has talked about selling beer and wine, but doing so would require a change in state law.

“We would want to partner with Chapel Hill and with East Carolina and with other schools,” she told WRAL Sports Fan.

The legislature recently passed a one-time exemption to the current law to allow alcohol sales at Carter-Finley Stadium for a potential outdoor NHL game, and a specific carve-out in the law exists for North Carolina’s Blue Zone at Kenan Stadium.

Sunday marked the first day that most NC businesses could sell alcohol before noon on Sunday, a freedom granted by the so-called “brunch bill” Gov. Roy Cooper signed on June 30. North Carolina until then was one of only three states to prohibit Su

Sports columnist Luke DeCock contributed to this story.

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