Michigan State University administrators are supportive of a bill moving through the state Legislature which would allow alcohol sales in college stadiums. But, even if the legislation is signed into law, the university sees a “very low” chance of sales beginning during this fall’s football season, university spokesperson Emily Guerrant said Wednesday.
The proposal – which garnered vast bipartisan support in the Michigan Senate – would still require universities to go through a licensing process with the state’s Liquor Control Commission. Guerrant said that between that process, and the logistical issue of finding and outfitting new vendors in Spartan Stadium and the Breslin Center, the university would be “hard pressed” to get alcoholic beverages into stadiums in time for this year’s games.
Guerrant said despite the procedural hurdles, Interim MSU President Teresa Woodruff is supportive of the alcohol sales, along with Athletic Director Alan Haller and Vice President of Public Safety Marlon Lynch, who have argued it would help MSU catch up with the 11 other Big Ten universities that allow alcohol at games.
MSU’s Board of Trustees, which would have the final say on campus, have “not yet discussed the matter,” board chair Rema Vassar said Wednesday.
With the Senate’s approval, the proposal is now moving to a vote in the Michigan House of Representatives. After that, it would need Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s signature.
Whitmer previously told Fox 2 News that she’s skeptical of alcohol sales on campus but would likely sign the bill if the Legislature sent it to her desk.
Opposition to the bill
Michigan’s chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving has said that they fear the proposal would increase underage drinking and the associated dangers.
And while the legislation’s overall political support was vast, the elected officials representing MSU aren’t so sure.
Sen. Sam Singh, D-East Lansing, whose district includes MSU's campus, was one of just two senators to vote against the bill. He said Wednesday that he heard from local leaders and constituents who were concerned about increased alcohol consumption, which led him to vote no.
Specifically, he was told that constituents living near campus were worried that if drinking lasted through the game – instead of ending during tailgates before – it could lead to increased "drunken activity" in local neighborhoods after games.
Rep. Julie Brixie, D-Meridian Twp., who represents MSU in the House, is “still talking to stakeholders about the potential effects of the legislation” and has not yet decided how she will vote, according to her office.
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