Rutgers to start selling alcohol at sporting events to help pay off debts

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PISCATAWAY -

Rutgers University announced it will start selling alcoholic beverages at sporting events to help alleviate some debts.

University officials say that beer and wine will be sold at the events. They say that many other schools are doing it too and that it will help reduce the number of alcohol-fueled game day incidents.

Rutgers has about 600 athletes on campus, with a scholarship bill of around $16 million per year. University officials say that the money sold from the alcohol will help pay for some of those scholarships.

The reaction from the student community was mixed. But one group who is not happy about the plan are officials from Piscataway Township, where Rutgers’s athletics events are held.

“Very surprised,” says Piscataway Business Administrator Tim Dacey, who says the plan poses a safety risk to the community.

“Everybody that leave the [Rutgers Athletic Center] or leaves the stadium winds up on a road in Piscataway,” he says.

Dacey says that he is concerned that Rutgers does not have a plan to combat overserving and underage drinking. Rutgers still needs to find a food vendor to handle the licensing.

Alcohol is currently only sold at sporting events to the high-paying club seating customers. The move opens alcohol sales up to thousands more.

News 12 New Jersey reached out to Athletic Director Pat Hobbs for comment. He declined to be interviewed, but said in a statement that the plan “was the result of a year-long review of the experience and data from across the college landscape."

Rutgers officials say that they hope that selling alcohol brings in more ticket revenue as well.

“We spend an awful lot of time with Rutgers - especially with the sports, supporting sports teams. We just want to make sure that we're part of the solution,” he says.

Dacey says that he has asked the Piscataway police chief to reach out to the Rutgers campus police chief and set up some meetings.

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