Beer sales debut at Maryland football season opener

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Fans filed in to Capital One Field at Byrd Stadium on Saturday to catch the first game of University of Maryland’s season. But, it was also the first game where beer would be sold to the general audience.

“I think college is place where you’re growing up, and this is just another mark of maturity and trust that Maryland has put into its students to have a good time,” freshman Max Scribner says.

University of Maryland got the green light from Prince George’s county to sell beer back in June. If the pilot program is successful, it could expand to include alcoholic offerings, such as wine in the coming years.

On Saturday, most fans seemed OK with the change.

“I don’t see it as a problem,” Mike Mills, of Georgetown, Delaware, told WTOP. “They’re going to stop selling it at the end of the third quarter, so as long as people are responsible, I don’t have a problem with it.”

Many students say the change benefits parents and alumni attending the games more than it benefits the students.

“Pretty sure a lot of students won’t be [buying beer],” freshman Austin Clever says. “I know that people ‘pre-game’ for these and they wouldn’t buy an $8 beer, anyway, because we are all broke, but the alumni definitely will and they’re probably making a huge margin on the alcohol, so it’s a good move for them [the university].”

And that’s where some fans had a problem.

“It’s just a moneymaker,” says Matt Sheriff, a Bowie resident. “I was the food service director here for 25 years. I’ve always said I wish I could sell beer because I could make a lot of money.”

Sheriff attended the game with Jack Mulhern, who lives in Frederick. They both have been attending games for decades. “I think it’s bad. Very, very bad.”

Mulhern and Sheriffsay the effort was counterintuitive if it is meant to reduce binge drinking. Mulhern says alcohol would ruin the fan experience. “[The] last game I went to [at FedEx Field], we had a bunch of young fellows behind us, they were absolutely obnoxious,” Mulhern says. “They ruined the game for us; we quit going.”

However, both say the Baltimore Orioles do a great job at managing alcohol sales.

At Byrd Stadium, all beers are being sold for $8 each. “It’s too expensive at the stadium for me personally,” say sMaryland senior Adam Daniel, who is old enough to buy a beer at the game. “I definitely do think that $8 is too much for a beer that’s worth two-fifty.”

Hoyt Hughes of Olney, who was attending the game with his family, didn’t mind the price. “For me as an adult, if I want to come in and have a beer or two while I’m watching the game for $16, that’s fine,” Hughes says.

Which has Mulhern wondering about the students who can actually afford to buy drinks–where they get the money–since the cost of a college education has become very expensive.

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