Survey explores possibility of stadium alcohol sales


Ryan Fischer

Beer is poured by the tap at Black Sheep Burrtos and Brews, February 4, 2016.

The Big Green Scholarship Foundation has distributed initial surveys to gauge interest for the possibility of beer sales at the Joan C. Edwards Stadium.

Executive director John Sutherland said the surveys are the first step in determining if beer sales could happen at the stadium.

“Well, we are exploring every possibility of enhancing the game experience at Marshall football games and creating revenue,” Sutherland said. “But we have to look at the pros and cons of every possibility, and we want to make sure we take our time on this.”

Sutherland said the surveys were not intended for Marshall students.

“We sent this initial survey and it probably won’t be the only survey that we do,” Sutherland said. “But we sent this initial survey out of this office because we wanted to know what our Big Green members and season ticket holders felt about it.”

However, Sutherland said potential beer sales would impact more than just those members.

“Those are the folks that are the most invested, but they would not be the only ones affected,” Sutherland said.

It has not yet been determined where the revenue from the potential sales would go.

“We really haven’t gotten that far,” Sutherland said. “We’ve got an idea from one vender what potential revenue might be, but we have a lot more information to put together.”

According to Sutherland, Big Green has not taken a stance on the issue and more research will be conducted before any decision is made.

“It may be something we move forward with and we may decide alcohol sales benefit us for the game day experience and revenue,” Sutherland said. “It’s complicated, it’s not black and white.”

Sutherland said he expects the initial survey to close at the end of this week.

“Over the next few weeks we’ll sit down and put together what we think are our next steps,” Sutherland said.

Student Body president, Duncan Waugaman proposed beer sales at sporting events in the administration’s platform last spring, but said the surveys are a Big Green initiative.

“Really our involvement has been in an informal sense,” Waugaman said. “I’ve been able to have a good relationship with some of the people on the board and some people, like Mike Hamrick, over in the athletic department and just talking to them about it.”

Waugaman said after getting the results from Big Green members and season ticketholders, he hopes to see what students think.

“If they just completely shoot it down then it will probably stop right here dead in its tracks,” Waugaman said. “But if they speak kind of favorably on it then I’m sure we’re going to have to find out what another large body represents.”

Waugaman said the process of determining if beer sales can benefit the university is a complicated one.

“It’s not just as simple as beer in the concession stands,” Waugaman said. “There’s going to be restrictions that have to be implemented. There’s going to be different things that can affect our game day a little bit, so I think we need to educate our fans on that front.”

In terms of potential revenue, Waugaman said he would work with the university and support the administration on any decision it makes.

“Obviously from a student side I would love to see it go to student fees or just keeping tuition lower,” Waugaman said. “If we can find an alternative revenue source then really start putting more money in the pot rather than trying to save the money that is in the pot, that can only help students in terms of affordability.”

Waugaman said the Board of Governors would ultimately make the final decision.

“If this is to come to a vote, I will say I will lobby on behalf of trying to convince our board members to do it,” Waugaman said. “And I can’t ever speak for them, but I can say that I feel this would be a favorable decision.”

Clara Maynard can be contacted at [email protected].