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UMD gets permission to sell alcohol at sporting events | News

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UMD gets permission to sell alcohol at sporting events

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (WUSA9) -- The Prince George's County Liquor Board approved a plan Wednesday night to allow the University of Maryland to sell alcohol to the general public at their sporting events.

The plan is a one-year long pilot program that will allow the university to sell alcohol during events at Byrd Stadium and the Xfinity Center. After the trial year, the university and the county will evaluate how successful the alcohol sales were and decide whether to continue the program.

During the trial year, the university will only sell beer. However, if the trial period goes well, the school could add wine to the menu.

University leaders have said the proposal is part of a plan to curb binge drinking at athletic events.

Last month, University of Maryland President Wallace Loh said his student leaders want to, "transition from a culture of unsafe pregame binge drinking to a culture focused on healthier social drinking."

The hope is that by offering alcohol in a controlled environment, students will drink less recklessly before the games.

"We did extensive research and so we're looking at this. And right now this a good thing to venture into," Maryland Athletic Director Kevin Anderson said.

Adding alcohol sales to sporting events would likely be a profitable venture for the university. West Virginia University has sold alcohol at football games since 2011, grossing more than $2 million, according to the athletic department. And West Virginia University police say alcohol related incidents on game days have decreased since beginning alcohol sales.

Loh has promised to direct the money raised from liquor sales to student services.

Some people however are skeptical of studies that suggest making alcohol more accessible decreases on reckless behavior.

"Why would they want to make it easy and more accessible," Patty Winters of the Brave and Bold Coalition said. The Brave and Bold Coalition focuses on teaching people about the dangers of drinking alcohol.

"There's already an underage drinking problem in the College Park area. We've had two student deaths in the last year," Prince George's County Liquor Board Chairman Charles Caldwell said. "The burden of proof is on the university."

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