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UNC Schools Weigh Alcohol Sales At Games

N.C. State Wolfpack fans at Carter-Finley Stadium

It's common to see North Carolina State fans head for the parking lot during halftime of Wolfpack games at Carter Finley stadium. They're leaving for their tailgate parties to refill their drinks of choice, because alcohol sales were forbidden by state law at college athletic event.

In the second half, that often means a lot of empty seats in the stands, something that famously infuriated Wolfpack head football coach Dave Doeren.

But that could change this year, not only for N.C. State football, but for all college sports at every University of North Carolina system school.

Gov. Roy Cooper signed a bill into law allowing alcohol sales at university events. That leaves it up to university boards of trustees to decide on whether to sell alcohol at their athletic events. N.C. State along with UNC-Chapel Hill, East Carolina University and others, are pursing just that.

Universities that are pursuing the sale of alcohol at UNC System athletic events (via UNC System central office):

  • UNC-Chapel Hill
  • N.C. State
  • UNC-Charlotte
  • East Carolina

Universities that are either discussing how the new law impacts them or are exploring their options, but have yet to make a final decision:

  • Winston-Salem State
  • Elizabeth City State
  • UNC-Asheville
  • Appalachian State
  • Fayetteville State
  • N.C. Central
  • N.C. A&T
  • UNC-Wilmington
  • UNC-Greensboro (at off campus events only currently, no plans to sell alcohol at on-campus events)

Universities that are not currently pursuing sale of alcohol:

  • UNC-Pembroke

Private colleges were not bound by the state law prohibiting alcohol sales. However, Duke University restricts alcohol to booster suites and does not have plans to change that policy. Wake Forest University has sold beer and wine at university sporting events since 2016.

Jason deBruyn is WUNC's Supervising Editor for Digital News, a position he took in 2024. He has been in the WUNC newsroom since 2016 as a reporter.
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