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University of Idaho tailgating may proceed with caution

UPDATED: Sat., Oct. 21, 2017, 6:38 p.m.

Montana State fan Mark D’Agostino, right, pours a beer for friend Jerry Johnson before the start of a college football game against Idaho on Thursday, Sep 1, 2016, outside the Kibbie Dome in Moscow. A new tailgating amendment allows “authorized game patrons and their private guests” to consume alcohol they bring to designated areas – such as stadium parking lots. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
Montana State fan Mark D’Agostino, right, pours a beer for friend Jerry Johnson before the start of a college football game against Idaho on Thursday, Sep 1, 2016, outside the Kibbie Dome in Moscow. A new tailgating amendment allows “authorized game patrons and their private guests” to consume alcohol they bring to designated areas – such as stadium parking lots. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)

Limited game day alcohol service and tailgating at Idaho universities received what amounts to a yellow light Thursday.

Policy changes approved by the Idaho State Board of Education mean alcohol is permitted under specific circumstances at NCAA athletic events on university campuses – with prior board approval.

A tailgating amendment allows “authorized game patrons and their private guests” to consume alcohol they bring to designated areas – such as stadium parking lots – “as long as they abide by all local and state regulations governing alcohol usage.”

The board, wrapping up a two-day meeting at Lewis-Clark State College, engaged in no discussion before approving the second reading of the policy amendments. Board member Richard Westerberg voted against the measure, as he did after the first reading in August. Board member Andrew Scoggin was absent.

The amended policy, jointly proposed by the University of Idaho and Boise State University, allows alcohol service at in-suite and pregame events in designated areas at those universities and Idaho State University. But each institution must present an annual proposal to the board for approval, with “detailed descriptions and drawings of the areas where events which will include alcohol service will occur.”

If an event meets the stipulations in the policy, including being in a clearly marked area separate from the rest of the event, the board may approve it.

“Before, the initial debate was should we even allow alcohol to be served on campus at pregame events,” Board spokesman Blake Youde said. “Now the policy allows it. We just need to see the institution’s plan for conducting that within the parameters of the policy.”

The amended policy also requires the schools to make an annual report to the state board “with details on alcohol service in conjunction with athletic events including any alcohol related incidents reported.”

At UI, the approved in-suite and pregame venues are the Litehouse Center/Bud and June Ford Club Room – where the board has typically approved alcohol service – and the north end of the activities field adjacent to the Kibbie Dome.

Pregame alcohol service currently is allowed in a corporate tent at the activities field, accessible only with an invitation. But the board rejected a request by the UI last year to also designate a portion of the nearby Fan Zone – open to all ticket holders – for alcohol service. The policy change makes the Fan Zone a candidate for alcohol service if the school can show the event would meet the policy requirements.

Minors are not permitted at pregame events where alcohol is served, but may accompany adults in suites and club rooms if under adult supervision at all times, under the revised policy.

While tailgating is a common practice at both UI and BSU, official board policy has been that alcohol in stadium parking lots was prohibited.

The updated policy allows fans to drink alcoholic beverages they bring themselves, as long as the drinks are in unlabeled, opaque containers. The board policy matches a recent update to Moscow city code that allows open containers in the Kibbie Dome parking lots from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on game days.


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