SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — South Dakota’s six public universities will now be allowed to expand alcohol sales at athletic and performing art events.
The new policy doesn’t require the university to offer alcohol and each university will have to develop plans for how alcohol will be implemented.
KELOLAND News reached out to all six BOR universities to see what they plan to do with the new policy.
The University of South Dakota said campus leaders will hold meetings on how to move forward with the new policy after the Fourth of July holiday. Northern State University said a review of campus guidelines has started in regards to the Board of Regents policy change.
Board of Regents General Counsel Nathan Lukkes told KELOLAND News student leaders should be credited for helping get the new alcohol policy approved.
“They were very articulate, very well thought out and they came to the table ready to discuss,” Lukkes said. “They wanted to make sure they were providing a quality and safe environment on campus for the game-time atmosphere and other events.”
One of those students was Caleb Weiland, the Student Government Association President at USD. Weiland said each student body passed a resolution in support of alcohol sales and he called the new BOR policy a win for the average fan.
“It’s not fair that we have people who can drink in suites and we have people in general admissions that can’t drink,” Weiland said. “We strategically used a student voice to say this is an issue. It’s not thee issue that’s facing our campuses, but it’s a main issue and let’s change it.”
Lukkes, who has been with the Board of Regents for eight years, said the national and regional trend has shifted to selling alcohol in general admission areas. He said in 2015 there were only about 34 NCAA Division I schools selling alcohol in general admission areas but that number more than doubled to 78 schools by 2019.
For each university, Lukkes said there will be rules and guidelines from different division levels and conferences that will need to be met.
Lukkes added each campus can select what venues and what events to allow roll out alcohol sales. He pointed out that the BOR policy requires defined start and end times for alcohol purchases, sales must be separate from general concessions and each event will be required to have alcohol-free zones.
“If you don’t want to be around it, you don’t have to,” Lukkes said. “We’re making sure that we provide ample opportunities and options for all of our spectators to get the quality experience they’re looking for when they come to our campuses.”
Lukkes said it’s hard to know what the revenue implications will be because the startup costs may vary from university to university. He said in other states, alcohol sales have netted positive revenue.
“There are some additional costs that come along with doing this in a responsible and safe fashion,” Lukkes said. “Based on what we’ve seen in other surrounding states, it does appear that it will be a positive revenue situation. To what extent, it’s kind of to be determined at this point.”
Weiland said he knew about a 2016 study that showed all together the six universities could generate $250,000 off of alcohol sales but that was before a new food service provider contract was signed.
At the University of Iowa, which plays in the Big Ten Conference, The Athletic reported alcohol sales generated more than $3.2 million in the first year offering alcohol sales.