Idaho, Boise State get the go-ahead

Updated: August 12, 2004, 10:16 PM ET
Associated Press

BOISE, Idaho -- Some fans at home football games for Boise State University and the University of Idaho will be able to buy beer or wine in controlled areas this fall, the State Board of Education decided Thursday.

The first such sales could begin at the Sept. 4 Boise State-Idaho opener in Boise.

Meeting at the College of Southern Idaho in Twin Falls, the board voted to approve a waiver to the policy that was adopted two months ago saying alcohol would not be allowed at student athletic events.

The vote has prompted concern over sending a mixed message about alcohol to the state schools in light of alcohol-related problems experienced on campuses across the country.

Laird Stone, board member from Twin Falls, said banning alcohol from those kind of events did not make sense and he said it would be similar to prohibition, which did not work.

Idaho has served beer on campus before football games in previous years with a waiver. Boise State has never had alcohol at those events, although the board did grant a waiver that it be allowed in a complex of tents during the Humanitarian Bowl.

Bronco Athletic Director Gene Bleymaier said earlier that the sales would only be allowed in a secured section north of the stadium. The tents would be sold to businesses and corporations. They would not be open to the general public, and those entering the tents must be invited guests.

Both Bleymaier and Idaho Athletic Director Rob Spear said providing a fun experience for fans is the primary reason for the new rules, with fund-raising a secondary consideration.

The board decided Thursday that alcohol distributors could not be corporate sponsors. Sales would not be allowed longer than four hours before the games start.

Board member Milford Terrell of Boise is also on the directors' panel for the MPC Computers Bowl, formerly the Humanitarian Bowl.

Terrell said Idaho's universities and colleges are suffering from poor funding because of the state's soft economy. Controlled beer and wine sales would be an opportunity for private businesses to help out those schools.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press