Iowa’s Kinnick Stadium, already recognized as one of the Big Ten’s toughest environments for a road team, is about to become even more challenging. Beginning this fall, Hawkeye fans won’t have to rely solely on the tailgate lots to get lubed up pre-game. Earlier this afternoon, the University of Iowa’s Athletic Department announced a program to allow beer and wine sales inside of the stadium. Now armed with a belly full of brews, the rowdy black and gold fan base will make life even harder on opponents.
Aside from Kinnick Stadium, the school’s basketball arena and baseball and softball fields will also allow beer and wine sales. This should be seen as welcome news for Hawkeye hoops fans looking for a cold brew now that Luka Garza’s eight years of eligibility have come and gone.
Athletic Director Gary Barta talked about the decision with Radio Iowa: “We have been working with our campus partners on this for some time now, and we are committed to maintaining a safe and enjoyable game day environment. While there is an opportunity for increased revenue, this decision was based on enhancing the fan experience and providing an additional amenity to our fans. At the conclusion of the 2021-22 academic year, we will work with our campus partners to review this pilot program.”
If there’s one downside to the added alcohol sales around campus, it would be the school’s decision to reduce the number of hours tailgate lots can be open. Starting this fall, those lots will open no more than six hours ahead of kickoff and no earlier than 6 am. Previously, the lot opened at 6 am even for night games. This just means fans will have to go a little harder during their pregame routines. Kegs and eggs at a local watering hole sounds like a good appetizer while waiting for the lot to open.
Per Radio Iowa, Interim President John Keller gave his thoughts on the changing tailgate policy: “We recognize that the pregame atmosphere around Kinnick Stadium is a significant part of the fan experience. We are adopting policies that encourage Hawkeyes to enjoy game day traditions while reducing underage access to alcohol and the negative impacts of binge drinking.”
The binge drinking Keller mentioned will be put the test when Iowa opens the season September 4th against Indiana.