Hawaii fans to say aloha to tailgating alcohol?
HONOLULU -- For Hawaii fans, it's not just the football season that seems to be slipping away. Warrior followers may have to do without a cold one when tailgating next year.
The Aloha Stadium Authority on Tuesday agreed to hold a public hearing on plans to ban alcohol in the stadium's parking lot during high school and college regular season sporting events.
The hearing will be scheduled after the University of Hawaii's regular football season ends Dec. 3, when the Warriors play San Diego State. The hearing could also be held on a weekend or at night to increase attendance.
Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona has been asking for the ban, along with UH interim President David McClain. They argue that beer drinking has contributed to unruly behavior at a stadium frequented by many families.
Alcohol will still be sold inside the stadium. Vendors who sell beer and food at the 50,000-seat Aloha Stadium had spoken against banning alcohol inside the stadium, saying it would hurt their sales.
The proposal to ban alcohol from the stadium parking lot still needs approval from Gov. Linda Lingle.
Student government president Grant Teichman said he was upset with the authority's vote, saying most students oppose the ban.
"It's really going to hurt the students who just want to go out there and have a good time," said Teichman, noting that 40 student senators representing all university programs have unanimously voted against the ban.
"It will dramatically affect tailgating, one of the few traditions that our students have," he said.
But student Scott Alonso said the ban is needed to prevent fights like the one that happened in 2002 when Hawaii played Cincinnati, and in 2003, when the Warriors faced Houston.
"I think it's the right message," said Alonso, who is also sports editor for the school's student-run newspaper, Ka Leo O Hawaii. "Sports is not about alcohol. Sports is for people to enjoy."
McClain had originally sought to have alcohol banned inside the stadium because he didn't think police would be able to control it in the parking lot during tailgating.
"He thought that there might be enforceable problems with that," said university spokeswoman Carolyn Tanaka. "But we will work with the authority."
Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press