Alcohol will continue to be sold to ticketed fans before Boise State home football games, but alcohol service at private functions before basketball games at Taco Bell Arena are likely at least another year away.
The State Board of Education voted Thursday in Lewiston to continue alcohol sales at “The Huddle” in Boise State’s Caven-Williams Indoor Complex for the rest of the football season, but nixed a proposal to allow sales to sponsors, high-level boosters and invited guests before home basketball games.
The board also voted to allow sales to continue before Idaho’s home football games in the “Idaho Fan Zone,” located on the practice field adjacent to the Kibbie Dome in Moscow.
“This sounds like a slippery slope to me. ... I’m a little nervous about this,” board vice president Emma Atchley said before voting against the Taco Bell Arena proposal.
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The vote was 5-3.
A board spokesman noted that expanded sales at Boise State and Idaho games are still new, so further expansion isn’t ideal and the board plans to address the issue once football season is completed.
Alcohol sales are allowed at certain non-collegiate events at Taco Bell Arena, such as concerts.
There was a lively discussion before the board approved contract improvements for Boise State men’s basketball coach Leon Rice.
Rice’s proposed deal includes $10,000 bonuses for scheduling “Power Five” teams at home, or $7,500 for teams whose three-year RPI averages were above 125. It also noted if Rice schedules a road game against a “Power Five,” the school will retain only the first $40,000, plus expenses, instead of the $50,000 in previous deals, after which Rice can distribute to himself and assistants as he sees fit, with athletic director approval.
Board member Richard Westerberg expressed issues with the changes, saying Athletic Director Curt Apsey has final approval on games, not Rice, and Apsey therefore has no incentive to schedule difficult games.
Though Apsey has final approval and wants to be more active in scheduling, basketball coaches often do a lot of the leg work, as opposed to football, when ADs often do a majority of it.
Boise State President Bob Kustra addressed the board, noting he hadn’t planned on it, but saying “we’re treading on some fairly serious and dangerous ground here,” that Rice and future coaches may not be keen on coaching in Idaho if those incentives would be rejected without being discussed in depth.
“If you remove these things, Mr. Westerberg, you’re sending a message to a Division I basketball coach who has been very successful that this may not be the place for him here in Idaho,” Kustra said.
Westerberg proposed a motion to approve the deal with the two key portions removed, but it was overruled. The board then unanimously approved the contract as written.
Contracts were approved for Boise State defensive coordinator Marcel Yates (a three-year deal that pays $330,000 annually and was first brought to the board in February), swimming and diving coach Jeremy Kipp and co-gymnastics coaches Neil Resnick and Tina Bird.