By now, I thought alcohol would be sold in every B1G stadium.

Let me rephrase that — by now, I thought alcohol would be sold in all sections* in every B1G stadium.

That’s worth clarifying because as Michigan State reminded us, there’s a way in which you can sell alcohol in suites but not to the general public because of state laws prohibiting alcohol sales in stadiums. How does that make sense, you ask?

MSU only sells alcohol to donors because the suites are located in the tower in the west end of the venue, which isn’t technically attached to Spartan Stadium. Therefore, it’s not in violation of a state law — a state law in which MSU has no plans on changing, according to MSU athletic director Bill Beekman.

“We do sell it in the suites and to a limited number of folks. I think more and more of the conference is going there,” Beekman told the Detroit Free Press. “It’s becoming more common. I wouldn’t be surprised to see it happen in some venue at some point. I’m not sure our starting point would be football.”

That would also apply to Michigan, which doesn’t have a tower of suites unattached to the stadium that would allow for such a loophole to be taken advantage of.

You know, like when the NHL made sure to get a special agreement in place when the Winter Classic was held at Michigan Stadium in 2014. My guess for the motivation for that? Uh, you’d be foolish not to make money off alcohol at this massive event in your stadium (one would also say that Michigan home football games are pretty massive events themselves).

And look, I get it. There are potentially some politics at play there. Obviously there hasn’t been the momentum necessary to change that law, though it seems like eventually, there will be.

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My question is why the conference is still split on this policy on alcohol being sold in general seating areas.

Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Seven are for it and seven are against it. Purdue, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Ohio State and Rutgers will sell alcohol all over their respective stadiums, and not just in the suites. It’s a far cry from 3 years ago when Minnesota and Maryland were the only B1G schools with such a policy.

Illinois, Indiana and Rutgers all joined that club this offseason. Why did all of them make that change? Well, three teams at the bottom of the conference in attendance wouldn’t mind incentivizing more people to show up and get a little more revenue coming in, as well.

Perhaps they saw how it worked at places like Maryland and Purdue, both of whom are now multiple years into this new policy of selling alcohol in all parts of the stadium. And by “worked,” that’s not to say it netted the university this massive sum of money. Maryland actually lost over $300,000 on its first year of the alcohol policy in 2015 because of the overhead costs to get the right equipment necessary to sell alcohol in its football and basketball stadiums (it turned a profit in Year 2).

So much of this conversation is centered around “fan experience.” Some use it as a crutch for resisting change. Others use the desire to improve the fan experience in this age of ever-decreasing college football attendance as a reason to change.

Wisconsin, which only sells alcohol in premium seating eras, is unlikely to change that policy anytime soon, according to school chancellor Rebecca Blank.

“The university believes that there is already an atmosphere of energy and excitement around Badger game days,” the school told the Wisconsin State Journal. “The addition of alcohol to general seating areas isn’t needed to improve that experience and could detract from it for our students and fans.”

So about that.

This belief that selling alcohol in stadiums will lead to a rowdier atmosphere that’ll hurt the fan experience is lazy. The numbers squash that notion, too.

Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

According to DBKNews.com, Maryland had 61 ejections in the football stadium during 2014 when it didn’t sell alcohol in general seating areas. When that policy changed in 2015, that number decreased to 18 ejections. In 2016, it dropped to 12. Schools like Texas and West Virginia also found that their in-game incidents went down after they started selling alcohol in general seating areas.

It actually makes a lot of sense. It’s not crazy to think that it would curb pregame binge drinking, which will never be completely removed from college football, whether it’s a wet or dry campus.

Plenty of professional stadiums figured out how to have a quality game atmosphere while selling alcohol responsibly in their stadiums (last call is end of the third quarter, one beer sold per person, etc.). It’s not far-fetched to think that Power 5 football programs can do the same without thinking their in-game experience will go into the toilet. I’d argue the chances are greater that it’ll improve.

And even a place like Nebraska, who could sell nothing but tap water and still sell out every home game, should look at what Ohio State did. Not only did Buckeyes net a $1.16 million profit in Year 1 of selling alcohol in general seating areas, but it also reported that in-stadium incidents decreased by 65%.

So if you could improve the in-game experience in a way that’ll incentivize more fans to show up while making $1 million in the process — Purdue’s alcohol sales exceeded $1 million in 2018 — doesn’t this seem like an obvious move to make? I would think so.

At least the B1G isn’t like the SEC, who somehow still doesn’t even give its member schools a choice to sell alcohol in general seating areas. That’s even more baffling than 7 B1G schools having the option and choosing not to do anything with it.

But if recent history is any indication, that’ll change a hurry. Sooner or later, they’ll all wake up and smell the coffee.

I mean, Budweiser.