Beer and wine sales can now happen at Appalachian State‘s athletic venues.
The school’s board of trustees reached a unanimous decision Thursday during a special meeting to allow the athletics department to pursue permits for beer and wine sales for its sports facilities.
The move comes in response to a bill signed into law on June 26 by Gov. Roy Cooper, allowing state universities to sell beer and wine on game days. Once House Bill 389 was signed into law, it allowed each school’s board of trustees to decide whether to pursue the venture.
“We appreciate the trustees’ thoughtful consideration of our review of data and the experiences of peer institutions,” Athletics Director Doug Gillin said through a school-issued press release. “Universities across the country have seen both a decrease in alcohol-related incidents and an enhanced fan experience when they provide a controlled environment for alcohol sales.
“Our game day staff will partner with Campus Dining, the App State police department, local law enforcement and other campus constituents to provide a safe and positive environment for everyone in attendance.”
The motion was presented by Mark Ricks, who heads the trustees’ athletic committee. Ricks donated $10 million to the athletics department in 2017, the single largest gift in school history.
According to the school release, App State can now pursue permits for Kidd Brewer Stadium (football), the Holmes Convocation Center (basketball), Varsity Gym (wrestling), Appalachian Soccer Stadium at the Ted Mackorell Soccer Complex, Jim and Bettie Smith Stadium (baseball), Sywassink/Lloyd Family Stadium (softball) and Brandon & Erica M. Adcock Stadium (field hockey).
It also included the Appalachian 105 site, which is set to be the future home of softball, track and field and tennis.
The soccer stadium will require a few more permissions, according to the release, since it’s a joint venture of the App State University Foundation, Watauga County and the High Country Soccer Association.
“I appreciate the due diligence on the part of our trustees and university staff to ensure we can meet the needs of our university, continue to positively contribute to the local economy and enhance the already outstanding Mountaineer fan experience,” Chancellor Sheri Everts said. “Throughout this review, we have prioritized the safety and security of our university community, and we will continue to do so as we work through the logistics related to implementing alcohol sales at our athletics venues.”
The school’s release cites the approval by the NCAA Executive Council to sell alcohol at NCAA championship events, the Southeastern Conference lifting its alcohol ban, as well as the sales at similar schools such as Marshall, Middle Tennessee State, Troy and Louisiana as reason why this move would make sense for App State.
During the 2018 season, App State rolled out a beer garden, called “The Rock Garten” outside of Kidd Brewer Stadium.
Appalachian opens its football season on Aug. 31 with a home game against East Tennessee State.