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Donors' demand brings booze to Peden Stadium, Convo

Beer and wine will be available for purchase at Peden Stadium and The Convo beginning next fall and winter, but only to a select segment of fans and students.

In recent mailings to members of the Ohio Bobcat Club, Ohio Athletics introduced the option to purchase alcohol in the Rohr Room on the concourse level of The Convo and the tower club level of Peden.    

Jim Harris, Ohio senior associate athletic director for Development, said the decision to sell alcohol was made at the request of donors and members of the Bobcat Club.

“We’ve been hearing comments from our donors for several years,” he said.

“We’ve had donors ask us, ‘Why can’t we have it in the stadium, why can’t we purchase it in the stadium?’ We’ve said this is an intercollegiate athletic environment and we want to keep that feel.”

Harris added that the donors were merely looking for a place they could purchase alcohol.

The affirming decision was partially inspired by alcohol sales at West Virginia University and the University of Louisville. Harris said that more than half of Mid-American Conference schools have a venue where donors can purchase alcohol.

“We are trying to enhance our experience (on) gameday and accommodate some of the requests that we’ve had from some of our high-level donors,” Harris said.     

In order to purchase the alcohol, patrons will need credentials to use the areas and will not be able to leave the area if they have alcohol.

“We will have security personnel to make sure no one is coming in or going out with the beverage,” Harris said.

Ohio’s alcohol sales are structured similarly to other MAC schools that sell alcohol in their stadiums and arenas. George Van Horne, associate athletic director for Development at the University of Akron, said the Zips’ Z-Fund has similar privileges.

“Alcohol purchase is limited to our suite and club levels for football only,” Van Horne said.

Bob Heller, associate athletic director for Development at Central Michigan University, said alcohol is available for purchase in the president and athletic director suites as well as the suites owned by local businesses.

Harris said Southeast Beverage Company and Classic Brands Distributing will handle the distribution process and the concessionaire that will sell the beverages.

Harris said this program is one he plans on keeping for the future.

“It’s something that we want to build on, having it every year, Harris said. “I am not big on giving consumers or giving donors a benefit and then taking it away.”

The only way the program would cease is if there were not enough interest, but Harris said that is an unlikely possibility because the interest level was the driving force behind the program.

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