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WVU Football Fan Behavior Improved

MetroNews Sports

WVU athletic director Oliver Luck and school officials are pleased with the results of selling beer at Milan Puskar Stadium this past football season, along with the change of not allowing fans to exit the stadium during the game and reenter.  Luck was on hand Friday at the WVU Board of Governors meeting, giving the board an update on the overall results and effect of those changes on fan behavior. 

“The data that we received just confirmed our belief that making the changes was going to be good for overall security and for fan enjoyment – that’s important as well,” Luck said. 

Overall, most fan related incidents needing police involvement within a 24-hour time span of gameday went down this past year around campus and in Morgantown compared with 2010.

In general, cases, arrests and charges by Morgantown police were all down – cases were down by 42 percent with arrests down by 35 percent.  On campus, specifically, those numbers were down as well.

“From all of the years I’ve worked, this is probably the best season I’ve ever worked,” said WVU Police Chief Bob Roberts.  “Things really were a lot better and we knew it would be better if we didn’t have pass-outs.”

Roberts said on-campus, calls were down, cases were down and arrests were also dramatically down as well.  Overall, he said the numbers compared well to other schools across the country.

“When LSU played Alabama, they had I think 149 arrests at that game,” Roberts said.  “That was more arrests at that game than we had for the season.  So, if you look at our stadium versus what’s going on at other places, we’ve really improved what we’re doing.”

Luck, meanwhile, doesn’t see any significant changes to the policy for the upcoming year at Milan Puskar Stadium.

“We’ll continue to look at some of the data, but in terms of large scale policy changes, I don’t think so,” he said.  “We’ll tweak where stands may be or where restrooms will be located – those type of things.  But, I don’t think we’ll be looking at any major policy changes.  It worked pretty well and if it’s working well, let’s not change it.”

Also, West Virginia’s move to the Big 12 won’t have any affect on the school’s ability to sell beer at football games.

“They’ve indicated that they’ll leave the decision to us and I think we’ve shown that, handled properly, it can work well and benefit the fans,” Luck said.

When Luck first announced the sale of beer at Milan Puskar Stadium last year, there were questions as to whether the same would be implemented at the Coliseum as well – however, he said there’s still not any plans for that.

“We don’t have any alcohol issues there as we did at football, and that’s what really drove this,” Luck said.  “If we did anything at the Coliseum, it would be maybe at one of those Club areas, which is limited to a certain level of season ticket holders.  But, we haven’t really talked about that much. 

“We’ll look at that after the basketball season is over and see if we’re going to make any changes there,” he continued.  “But, at this point to the general public in the Coliseum, we have no plans of beer sales.”

In total, West Virginia profited about $750,000 dollars from beer sales this past football season — $500,000 from the sales themselves and another $250,000 in sponsorships from three suppliers. 

“Ultimately, it made about three quarters of a million dollars for the athletic department and that’s real money – nothing to sneeze at,” Luck said.

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