Stadium authority shirks duty to control booze
The Aloha Stadium Authority has rejected a proposal to ban consumption of alcohol at tailgate parties in the stadium parking lot.
ASKED by Lt. Gov. Duke Aiona to ban alcohol at Aloha Stadium and in the parking lot for University of Hawaii and high school football games, the Aloha Stadium Authority has chosen to do neither
. The decision shrinks from a nationwide issue that has prompted a crackdown on alcohol at numerous colleges and universities. A ban inside the stadium is the least that should be imposed.
Aiona asked last August that the authority put an end to drinking booze in the stadium or at pre-game tailgate parties. David McClain, UH's interim president, supported halting the serving of beer in the stadium but doubted that the parking lot could effectively be turned into a dry zone.
Drunken sports fans have made football games increasingly unruly at Aloha Stadium and at other sports venues. Bans have been initiated at stadiums from the Ivy League to the Pac-10 Conference, where all teams have banned alcohol sales at home football games.
The California State University system, which includes three Western Athletic Conference teams, initiated a policy last month that prohibits the sale of alcoholic beverages at college sporting events in university-owned facilities. The ban will be imposed at several universities after the current alcohol vending contracts expire.
As a tragedy following a New York Giants game in 1999 demonstrated, the consequences extend beyond the stadium. A visibly drunk football fan whose six beers at halftime brought his blood-alcohol level to 0.266, more than 21/2 times the then-legal limit of 0.10, crashed into a car carrying a family returning home from a pumpkin-picking trip after the Giants game.
As described in a Newhouse News Service report on the previous page, a New Jersey jury awarded a crippled girl and her mother a $135 million judgment a year ago. The jury agreed with the girl's attorney that a "culture of intoxication" had enveloped Giants Stadium.
Enforcing a ban on booze in the Aloha Stadium parking lot would be difficult to enforce. Fans at pre-game gatherings could conceal alcohol in mixed drinks. If the authority had initiated such a ban, Hawaii might have become the only university football venue to allow alcohol consumption inside the stadium but not along its periphery.
Aiona says the issue is not dead, noting that an authority subcommittee will try to determine how to better prevent underage drinking and enforce rules against drunken and raucous behavior. A ban on booze inside the stadium could deter many fans who consumed alcohol at tailgate parties from crossing the threshold of intoxication before the game's final play.
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