Asia Perry

(Rock Hill, S.C.) — Winthrop University has started selling beer and wine at the Winthrop Ballpark and Terry Softball Complex this season, where baseball and softball games are held, as a test before the practice is expanded to other athletic events.

Winthrop announced, in a press release Feb. 14, patrons of legal drinking age will be able to purchase alcohol with an accepted form of identification at the concession stands inside the stadiums.

“We are always looking for new ways to improve the gameday experience for our fans,” said Dr. Ken Halpin, Winthrop’s vice president of intercollegiate athletics, via the release.

Alcohol sales at baseball games will end at the beginning of the bottom of the seventh inning and at the start of the fifth inning at softball games. All alcohol would be required to remain inside the stadium at all times and it will be served in plastic cups.

“We are running this as a trial program and if successful, we intend to expand the program to events at the Coliseum. We are committed to ensuring all of our fans enjoy their time at Winthrop sporting events and also do so in a safe and responsible manner,” said Halpin.

“Went to the concession stand and found out they serve beer and wine, so that kind of surprised me. Got a little IPA, they had some pretty good stuff that they were offering,” said Jordan Brown, a junior at Winthrop.

“It’s perfect for a school like Winthrop because it is fairly small and it’s in a small area so you shouldn’t have to worry about there being any major problems concerning people not being responsible.”

Brown said he thinks the sales could encourage more students to get excited about going to sporting events.

Anthony Davis, assistant dean of students and director of student conduct, said so far the sales haven’t caused any problems.

“I’m confident that they wouldn’t serve unless they have the proper mechanisms in place to make sure that all state and federal laws are being followed,” he said.

Davis said he supports the idea of expanding alcohol sales to other events, but said it’s always good to start small to see how it goes.

However, some are not completely on board with having access to alcohol at the games.

“I think I’d rather have sober fans that want to be there to cheer us on rather than people there that just come to drink beer and watch a game,” said Ansley Gilreath, a Winthrop softball player.

Gilreath said it’s possible people will attend the games for the wrong reason and could become a distraction.

“Use to be when people came, we knew they really wanted to be there because it’s outside; like it’s really hot or cold and we know it really sucks to sit through that, but now if people are there we can look up and see what their intentions are at our games,” she said.