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Marshall could expand alcohol sales to stadium

By LACIE PIERSON

The Herald-Dispatch

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — The expansion of a current in-stadium experience could be brewing for Marshall University football fans.

Members of Marshall’s Board of Governors will consider a measure to allow for alcohol sales to take place throughout the Joan C. Edwards Stadium when they meet at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, June 28, in the Memorial Student Center on campus.

Board members also will finalize Marshall’s budget and tuition rates for fiscal year 2018 during the meeting.

The first action item on the board’s agenda is the alcohol sales measure.

In the agenda, Marshall’s athletic director, Mike Hamrick, asks permission to sell alcohol throughout the football stadium.

Beer and wine have been served in the Big Green Room at the stadium since 2005, but until 2016, game patrons couldn’t take the beverages outside of the room.

With the 2016 season, Big Green members who had access to the room were permitted to take the drinks to their stadium seats, limiting alcohol consumption to the “chairback” sections of the stadium.

“There have been requests from season ticket holders to provide this in other parts of the stadium, and it would open up an additional revenue stream for the department,” Hamrick said in his proposal in the board meeting agenda.

There is no information in the agenda as to how much revenue has been, or is projected to be, generated from alcohol sales in the stadium. The measure also doesn’t say whether fans’ ability to leave and re-enter the stadium will be affected.

In other business, board members will pick up where they left off in April and finish their work on the university’s budget for fiscal year 2018, which begins July 1.

Lawmakers passed a budget June 15, and Gov. Jim Justice on June 21 announced he would allow the budget to become law without his signature, saying the sole reason he didn’t veto it was to avoid a government shutdown on July 1.

Marshall’s proposed total core operating budget for fiscal year 2018 is $119,263,458.

The budget shows Marshall actually lost $3,254,912 in state appropriations, not including appropriations to Marshall’s Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine or the Marshall University Research Corp.

To that end, the budget measure also includes a tuition increase of 9 percent for resident and non-resident students and 7 percent for metro students, which is estimated to generate $3,247,213 for Marshall.

The increase equates to $322 more per semester for native West Virginia students, $737 more per semester for non-resident students and $440 more per semester for metro students, according to the tuition proposal in the agenda.

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