The Illinois baseball game against Ohio State on Friday, May 4, promises to feature one of the rarest things at a U of I sporting event: beer.
As part of its Bleacher Bum BBQ event, Illinois will sell beer at Illinois Field. It will be available in a tent along the left field line. Beer will not be allowed outside the tent area.
This is the only game this season in which beer will be sold. It typically has not been available for sale to the general public at Illini home sporting events, though it is available in private areas such as the suites at Memorial Stadium and State Farm Center. In recent seasons, the university has sold beer in a fenced-in area in Grange Grove for home football games.
The recent move to limited beer sales is something of a test run for Illinois, which is monitoring the happenings with a view toward possibly expanding sales in the future. The NCAA allows colleges to determine its own course for beer sales, which are banned at its championship events. Most schools do not sell alcohol at sporting events at campus facilities, whereas it is usually available at venues such as Chicago’s United Center or St. Louis’ Scottrade Center. For years, the conventional wisdom was that public beer sales were not appropriate at school-sponsored events, particularly on campus where binge drinking is a longtime problem.
That thinking, however, has changed in recent years, with more schools offering alcohol at campus events. It appears Illinois is considering joining that trend.