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NMSU to apply for liquor license for Pan Am Center

By Vanessa de la Viña, vanessa@kvia.com
Published On: Oct 21 2013 10:59:33 PM CDT
Updated On: Jan 16 2014 06:11:32 PM CST

NMSU Wants To Sell Beer At Pan Am Center

LAS CRUCES, N.M. -

For many, beer and sports go hand-in-hand. Soon Aggie fans will be able to drink beer and wine during athletics events at the Pan American Center.

On Monday, the New Mexico State University Board of Regents voted 3-1 to apply for a governmental liquor license.

It's a controversial topic that's been discussed for many years.

Some worry about campus safety. Others say it's about time.

"I've had a lot of people say, 'I'd like the possibility of a beer and hot dog before a basketball game' so we want to do that," said NMSU president Garrey Carruthers.

The process to get approved for a liquor license could take five months. Officials said the license will cost $1,500 a year.

Officials estimate alcohol sales could bring in between $75,000 and $100,000.

"We're not doing it just for the revenue. We're doing it for people, our customer satisfaction," Carruthers said.

Carruthers said it's better for basketball and volleyball games, where fans don't usually tailgate.

So is it what Aggie fans want?

"I feel like it would make people want to go to the games because it's alcohol. It's a college thing. You drink," one NMSU student said.

"I think it's terrible. I think students get rowdy enough as it is without the use of alcohol. That just makes everything worse," a Las Crucen said.

"Alcohol just causes more trouble, more problems. People react in different ways to alcohol. I don't think it's a good idea," another Las Crucen said.

The University of Texas-El Paso started selling alcohol at athletics events in 2012.

Sine then, UTEP sold more than $99,000 worth of alcohol. That's just at men's and women's basketball games.

Football games made more than $200,000 in alcohol sales.

What about that safety aspect?

"I think our state laws are strict enough and our people are accountable enough to make sure that we can minimize that risk," Carruthers said.

The NMSU police chief said they will have more officers on patrol during games where alcohol is sold.

A spokeswoman for UTEP said they haven't seen any change in their fans' behavior since they started selling alcohol.

"Alcohol and sports have mixed for a long period of time. People have to learn to behave," Carruthers said.

If all goes as planned, Aggie fans can look forward to beer and wine at the Pan Am Center next year.

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