East Carolina Pirates fans can carry their tailgate parties into Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium this football season.
The ECU Board of Trustees voted unanimously Friday to approve the sale of beer and wine at athletic events, making it the fourth UNC university to adopt the new policy.
ECU’s goal is to sell alcohol in the football stadium and at Minges Colliseum for men’s and women’s basketball games starting this year and at Clark-LeClair Stadium for baseball games in the spring. ECU will sell beer and wine from two hours prior to game time and through end of the third quarter.
ECU athletics director Jon Gilbert said it will “enhance our game-day experience for those who choose to partake in that endeavor” and increase revenue. ECU would be the 10th school in the American Athletic Conference to sell alcohol at its athletic venues.
ECU’s home football opener is Sept. 7.
In his presentation to the board, ECU senior associate athletics director J.J. McLamb said this is part of their plan to limit irresponsible drinking. He cited specific examples from other athletic programs, including West Virginia University, where alcohol-related incidents decreased after they allowed alcohol to be sold at campus sporting events.
They plan to control the environment with mandatory ID checks, allowing only one drink per customer per transaction, enhancing gate screenings to prevent outside alcohol and adding security cameras over the concession area where alcohol is sold.
There will also be separate concession stands that do not sell alcohol for fans who are only interested in buying food and non-alcoholic beverages.
Where other UNC schools stand
UNC-Chapel Hill and N.C. State University will also start selling alcohol in their stadiums and arenas as early as this season. UNC Charlotte is giving it a one-year trial.
N.C. State Chancellor Randy Woodson and the UNCC board also referenced the success other unieversities had in curbing a drinking-related crimes after selling alcohol in stadiums in their decisions to support the new policy.
University leaders at UNC Greensboro, Appalachian State, UNC Wilmington, N.C. Central, N.C. A&T, UNC Asheville, Fayetteville State, Winston-Salem State and Elizabeth City State are still deciding what they’ll do.
UNC Pembroke is the only UNC system school to say no to alcohol sales at sporting events, but tailgating will continue there.
Universities across the state are able to amend their alcohol policies and change the game day experience for their fans because of a new law that allows alcohol to be sold in college stadiums and arenas that was signed in June.