ABERDEEN, SD (Dakota News Now) — Thanks to a recent decision by the South Dakota Board of Regents, the NSU’s premier football game looked a little different this year.
The South Dakota Board of Regents approved the expansion of alcohol sales in general admission areas at college events in June.
Last year, Northern State University sold alcohol in restricted sections of Dacotah Bank Stadium. In their first home game of the season this year against Upper Iowa on Thursday, booze was available throughout the stadium.
“We were really pleased when the Board of Regents passed an updated policy that allows the sale of alcohol in all campus facilities. We will take full advantage of it here at Northern State. We believe it will continue to do what we believe is the best on-campus football experience in the state of South Dakota,” said Justin Fraase, NSU vice president of enrollment, communications and marketing.
The decision to increase alcohol sales was strongly requested by fans.
“What we heard from our fans, what we heard from our students, what we heard from people who participated in football here last year is that they wanted it to be bigger. So we’re really excited to be offering that this year,” Fraase said.
Garret Thompson, a graduate assistant in the NSU athletics department, said it would only improve game-day culture.
“I think it just goes to show that this space is for more than football. It’s really just a community gathering. Alcohol sales are always a boost,” Thompson said.
Expected revenue from expanding sales could also benefit NSU students.
“We think that will have an impact on income, which inevitably comes back in the form of scholarships primarily, which is fantastic,” Fraase said.
The top priority for Northern is safety. Those over 21 were identified with wristbands, alcohol was sold at separate kiosks, a non-alcoholic family section was available and security was on duty at the game.
“We continue to work with law enforcement in the area. We have hired private security guards, as we have done in the past. We will be sure to have everyone on deck in the event of a problem, but we are expecting a big event,” Fraase said.
Northern plans to use football games as a trial to sell alcohol at other campus events, such as basketball games, later this year.
“If all goes well, and we fully expect things to happen, we will be looking to potentially expand this to Wachs Arena within Barnett Center,” Fraase said.
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