The Board of Trustees voted to modify The University of Akron's alcohol policy to allow the sale of beer in the main seating area of InfoCision Stadium - Summa Field, starting this fall. After a comprehensive review of alcohol policies at other football stadiums, the UA Department of Athletics presented a plan that acknowledges the wishes of many football fans while managing alcohol consumption through strict guidelines for concession and distribution control.
"Based on feedback we have received from our season ticketholders and the student body, we believe this is something that will enhance the game-day experience and likely will attract new fans as well," said UA Director of Athletics Tom Wistrcill. "We look forward to those who are of age having the opportunity to enjoy an adult beverage in a safe and responsible manner at Zips home football games."
Previously, alcohol was available at the stadium only on the fifth and sixth floors of the press tower, where the suites, loges and club seats are located. Beer, wine and spirits will continue to be sold in those areas. From 2002 to 2008, a designated "beer garden" was available to fans at Akron's previous football stadium, the Rubber Bowl.
UA's Undergraduate Student Government passed a resolution in November 2011 with an 11-0-1 vote, recommending the sale and purchase of alcohol at InfoCision Stadium - Summa Field.
The University reviewed the policies for beer sales at football stadiums of other NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision athletic departments, including three Ohio public institutions (Bowling Green, Cincinnati, Kent State). Sodexo, which manages the concession stands in the main seating area at the stadium and has overseen alcohol sales at numerous collegiate athletic facilities, will operate and staff the points of sale for beer.
The following procedures for serving beer in the main seating areas at the stadium will be established:
• All concessionaire employees, police, security and game management employees will be trained in techniques for effective alcohol management that meets state of Ohio liquor license requirements.
• Wristbands will be required to purchase, and will be distributed at a separate identification stand.
• IDs still will be checked at the concessions stands with every purchase, and a wristband must be shown.
• A maximum of two beers will be sold per transaction.
• Beer sales will conclude at the end of the third quarter.
• Beer will be sold only at stands around the concourse.
• The same employee will check identification, collect money and then serve the customer, in that order.
• All employees who serve will have completed an alcohol training class.
• An alcohol-free section of the stadium will be established.
• Responsible drinking will continue to be promoted.
• Designated driver programs will be established and promoted.
• Additional staffing, including security and clean up, will be hired as necessary.
Alcohol will not be sold at any scholastic events held in the stadium, and other contracted events held there will be assessed on an individual basis.
New head coach Terry Bowden and the Zips open the 2012 season at home on Thursday, August 30, against the University of Central Florida. Akron will play six home contests this fall at InfoCision Stadium - Summa Field, which will host its fourth year of UA football.