Stony Brook is stepping into the national college trend of enhancing the fan experience at athletic events by making beer and wine available for purchase at home football, men’s basketball and women’s basketball games in the coming school year.
The school announced on Thursday the launch of what it is calling a 'pilot program' and for the first time beer and wine will be sold at LaValle Stadium when the Seawolves host Wagner on Sept. 14 in a 6 p.m. contest.
"This initiative is intended to enhance the fan experience while maintaining a safe and enjoyable game day atmosphere for all of our fans," Stony Brook athletic director Shawn Heilbron said in the school's announcement. “We have worked closely with campus leadership and relied upon best practices of other schools to ensure the responsible implementation of this plan.”
At many major college sporting events, there has long been some alcohol available in private areas, open mostly to large donors, VIPs and some season ticket holders. Until recently, however, there was resistance to making alcoholic beverages available to regular ticket-holders (though it has been available, for example, at college games played at Madison Square Garden).
That resistance has eroded in recent years. During the 2018-19 school year, the NCAA for the first time permitted alcoholic beverages to be sold at its basketball tournaments. The SEC this year is allowing schools to sell alcoholic beverages in their stadiums and arenas if they so choose.
At Stony Brook, beer and wine will be available at select LaValle Stadium concession stands beginning when gates open one hour before kickoff at and through the conclusion of the third quarter. For men’s and women’s basketball games, beer and wine will go on sale when Island Federal Credit Union Arena gates open one hour before tipoff and will be available at all concession stands; sales at women’s basketball contests will conclude at the end of the third quarter and at the 'under-12 minute' media timeout at men’s games.
Fans must be 21 years of age or older to purchase alcoholic beverages at Stony Brook events, they will be sold no more than two at a time and dispensed in cups, not cans or bottles. Wristbands will be issued for alcohol consumption. Alcohol consumption will not be permitted in designated student sections and will not be sold at the concessions stands in proximity to the student sections at LaValle Stadium.
The Stony Brook announcement said consideration for alcohol sales at other university sports venues will be considered at a later date.