WINSTON-SALEM — N.C. A&T will take advantage of a new state law that allows alcohol sales at college sporting events.
The university’s Board of Trustees on Friday approved a resolution that permits alcoholic beverage sales at most of its sports venues. Athletics Director Earl Hilton said after the unanimous vote that A&T plans to sell alcohol at football games starting this fall, but won’t extend sales to other facilities.
A&T joins at least three other UNC System schools — East Carolina, N.C. State and UNC-Chapel Hill — that recently expanded their policies regarding alcohol sales.
UNC-Charlotte will launch a one-year pilot program this fall to test alcohol sales there.
Hilton said A&T officials will work out the details over the next month. He said fans will be able to buy alcohol at several places within BB&T Stadium and that alcohol sales will end after the third quarter.
A&T’s new policy comes almost a month after Gov. Roy Cooper signed a new measure that lets public universities sell beer and wine throughout sports venues during college games. The new law also allows the sale of mixed drinks in university-owned athletic facilities during other non-college sports events, such as concerts and lectures.
Until last month, state law generally prohibited alcohol sales inside on-campus and university-owned football stadiums, basketball gyms and other sports venues.
There were some exceptions. A portion of the UNC-CH football stadium was exempt from the law. Nonprofit, university-affiliated foundations at several state schools sold beer and wine in premium seating areas that weren’t accessible to most fans. Last fall, A&T for the first time operated a beer garden outside BB&T Stadium.
A&T’s new measure could permit beer and wine sales in five on-campus sports venues. The list that trustees approved Friday includes BB&T Stadium and the Corbett Sports Center, which is the home court for the men’s and women’s basketball teams. The other three are the softball complex, the tennis complex and Moore Gymnasium.
The only venue not part of the new policy is War Memorial Stadium, the baseball team’s home field. A&T is still working to acquire the stadium from the city of Greensboro. The new state law applies only to athletics facilities owned by state universities.
Officials at other UNC System schools have said they’re expanding their policies, in part, to combat binge drinking outside their stadiums and hidden drinking inside.
“I’m hopeful that by bringing this under the aegis of the university that we can eliminate some of the surreptitious consumption of adult beverages,” Hilton said.
Most other UNC System schools are weighing new policies to permit alcohol sales in sports venues. Only one — UNC-Pembroke — has said it won’t sell beer and wine at any games, according to media reports.
UNCG officials have said there are no plans to offer beer and wine at venues other than the Greensboro Coliseum, where the men’s basketball team plays. The prior state law didn’t apply to city-owned arenas, and the coliseum has elected to sell alcohol at UNCG basketball games.
The vote by A&T’s trustees came at the end of a two-day retreat at Graylyn, the Winston-Salem conference center owned by Wake Forest University.