CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- West Virginia University's Board of Governors voted 10-5 Friday to allow beer sales at sporting events on campus, beginning with home football games in the 2011 regular season.
In their meeting Friday at the Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center in Charleston, board members heard a presentation from Athletic Director Oliver Luck and then commenced a question and answer segment. Immediately after, the board voted to pass the proposal and asked the athletic department to "provide a report on the implementation of this ammended Policy 18" next June.
Luck said he was "pleased" with the approval, which he believes will adress "coarseness" in the stands and "increase civility." The policy change will go into effect as WVU prohibits smoking in public areas of the stadium and ends its practice of allowing re-entry at Mountaineer Field during games.
"I believe we have taken a step forward toward our goal of a safer, friendlier and more civil game day experience," Luck said in a prepared statement.
Luck spoke for eight minutes before the Board as he presented a series of slides and talking points. He was joined by University Police Chief Bob Roberts, the University Police's Manager of Investigative Services and retired Morgantown Police Chief Phil Scott and Scott''s successor, Ed Preston.
The discussion between them and the board members lasted 24 minutes and involved a series of questions from members for and against the amendment.
"I think it was an excellent discussion and it was important we had that discussion and the questions were asked," said Board chairwoman Carolyn Long.
Long, the outgoing chair, said she does not participate in votes unless she has to break a tie, but said she would have voted for the amendment. She was counted in the official record, along with Ellen Cappellanti, Tom Clark, Tom Flaherty, William Nutting, incoming chairman Drew Payne, James Rogers, Jo Morrow and faculty representatives Nigel Clark and Robert Griffith.
"Anybody who thinks there isn't alcohol at Mountaineer Field is either naive or blind," Flaherty said. "It's been going on at every game. It is there. This is a step forward to try to control that."
James Dailey, Diane Lewis, Ed Robinson, Will Wilmoth and student representative Chris Lewallen voted against allowing beer sales.
"Not everybody does it," said Wilmoth. "I think the way the Board decided to do it -- which I support -- is responsible. I just had some reservations whether it was something we should do. "
Wilmoth asked Luck if schools in the the Atlantic Coast Conference and Southeastern Conference sell alcohol. Luck said they did not.