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New law clears the way for beer sales at campus sporting events in North Carolina

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Henley Regatta 2017 In Detail Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images

Alcohol sales at public university sports venues has been a growing trend across the country, but until this week, sales at such venues in North Carolina were prohibited. That is no longer the case. The door is now open for beer sales in Carter-Finley Stadium, which may have some wider implications, namely regarding the halftime pass-out rule.

Let’s ponder the questions surrounding pass-outs and booze for a minute.

Will alcohol be available to main concourse patrons at Carter-Finley this fall? Possibly, but I doubt it, and regardless, halftime pass-outs aren’t going anywhere for a while. NC State’s football coaches have never been fans of halftime pass-outs because of their negative impact on the second-half atmosphere, but the truth is that the administration tolerates pass-outs because they would otherwise have to address pressing stadium infrastructure problems.

Carter-Finley is ancient from an amenities standpoint—restrooms, concession stands, you name it. This is not a facility that can satisfy a contained crowd of 58,000 people, especially on the east side. They’ve procrastinated on this for decades.

NC State can start selling beer, sure, but if the school cancels pass-outs simultaneously, administrators will have riots on their hands as people realize they have to choose between waiting an hour at a makeshift beer stand or waiting an hour to pee. I love Carter-Finley, but from a fan standpoint, it’s far from a modern facility. Even including the improvements made to the west side.

Which is why this will be phased in slowly. The writing is on the wall for passouts, I suspect. But that’s going to be years away. Initially you’re just gonna get the option to pay six bucks for that Bud Light you could otherwise walk outside to get for free. Depending on your parking situation, that may be appealing.

The scale-up for basketball should happen far more quickly—this is the advantage to sharing a building with a pro team; the infrastructure already exists. They just gotta hire more people to man the kegs. No problem. Done and done. Open all the concession stands that already exist for this purpose.

Obviously it makes more sense that beer should flow more freely for basketball games, anyway.