State Colleges

Board rejects alcohol request for Boise State, Idaho football games

Tailgating at 2015 Boise State-Washington game

Scenes from outside Albertsons Stadium before Boise State football's 2015 season opener against Washington.
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Scenes from outside Albertsons Stadium before Boise State football's 2015 season opener against Washington.

The State Board of Education says Boise State and Idaho will no longer be allowed to sell alcohol to ticketed fans at designated functions before football games, unless there is a separate invitation issued to those fans.

Board members, meeting Thursday in Idaho Falls, rejected requests from Boise State and Idaho to continue allowing alcohol sales for the upcoming season.

The decision affects “The Huddle” inside the Caven-Williams Sports Complex at Boise State and the “Idaho Fan Zone” adjacent to the Kibbie Dome in Moscow.

It does not affect alcohol service at the Stueckle Sky Center at Albertsons Stadium, or the 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. tailgaiting zone where alcohol is allowed for consumption in designated areas around the stadium and on campus.

Alcohol sales for pregame functions at Boise State and Idaho were approved as a one-year pilot program by the board last June. Before, alcohol service was only approved for corporate sponsors and invited guests.

Board members said Thursday that they no longer want to waive state policy, which requires a special invitation to buy alcohol at college games.

Last season, fans were allowed into “The Huddle” with a game ticket.

David Hill of Boise was the only board member opposed to the decision to require an invitation. He said the ruling will essentially shut down BSU’s pregame function, which offered fans food, alcohol and entertainment in lieu of tailgating.

BSU officials reported no problems or incidents of trouble while operating “The Huddle” last year, Athletic Director Curt Apsey said. The school lost about $15,000 running the event, Apsey said, but it was a growing and important alternative for fans, he said.

“We respect (Thursday’s) decision by the Idaho State Board of Education regarding alcohol sales at The Huddle prior to Boise State football games. The Huddle is a popular family event that allows fans an opportunity to congregate before kickoff. We will work closely with the Board to identify acceptable policies and procedures moving forward, and from there, determine the future of the event,’’ Apsey said in a statement.

Last October, the board voted to continue the pilot program at BSU and Idaho for the rest of the football season, but nixed a proposal to allow sales to sponsors, high-level boosters and invited guests before basketball games at Taco Bell Arena.

“This sounds like a slippery slope to me. ... I’m a little nervous about this,” board Vice President Emma Atchley said before the October vote against the Taco Bell Arena proposal.

At the time, a spokesman said the board noted that expanded sales at BSU and Idaho games were still new, so further expansion wasn’t ideal and it planned to further address the issue once the season ended.

Alcohol sales are allowed at certain non-college events at Taco Bell Arena, such as concerts.

At “The Huddle,’’ doors opened three hours before the game and closed 30 minutes prior to kickoff. Fans were allowed to purchase food, soft drinks, beer and wine.

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