Bill for alcohol sales at college sports games advances

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RALEIGH, NC (AP) - All University of North Carolina system schools could sell alcoholic drinks at campus stadiums, arenas and athletic facilities if their trustee boards allow it in state House legislation.

The measure approved on Tuesday by the House alcohol control committee would allow beer and wine sales during university sporting events. Mixed drinks may be allowed for other events if vendors have such a permit.

Currently sales or consumption for games are prohibited inside venues save for small exceptions, such as at football stadiums for UNC-Chapel Hill and N.C. State University.

Bill sponsor Rep. John Bell of Goldsboro says the bill is supported by chairs of nearly all campus trustee boards, and schools in other states where sales are allowed see fewer alcohol-related game-day problems.

The legislation now heads to another committee.

An Eastern Carolina lawmaker wants you to be able to buy beer and wine at your next ECU football game.

Rep. John Bell, a Wayne County Republican and the House Majority Leader, along with Sen. Rick Gunn, of Alamance County, filed companion bills today to do just that.

"For the past two years, we have had constructive conversations with university leadership, law enforcement, coaches, and students about the sale of alcohol at athletic games," said Bell. "We believe this bill creates a positive path forward that will help improve safety while allowing our state-funded universities the ability to provide the best game day experience possible."

If passed and signed into law, it would allow all UNC Systems schools to sell alcohol at sporting events.

Already, private colleges and universities in the state, including Wake Forest, sell alcohol at their games, while state universities provide alcohol in premium and box seats.

Lawmakers say statistics show when alcohol is sold in the stadiums, alcohol-related problems dramatically drop.