By LARRY VAUGHT
With the Southeastern Conference’s recent decision to let member schools decide whether or not to sell beer and wine at athletic events, Kentucky is in the process of deciding what to do.
It’s unlikely any decision can be made and/or implemented before football season (luxury suites already have access to alcohol). However, Rupp Arena sells beer for concerts and other events, so making the change for basketball would not be that difficult if UK decided to go that way.
Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari was asked during his summer press conference Tuesday what he thought about the SEC ruling.
“I’m not a big drinker. I don’t drink much. It’s the way of the world right now. I’ll roll with whatever (the university) wants to do,” Calipari said. “Obviously, we have students in that building who are underage and shouldn’t be drinking.”
Now I hope fans take what he says here to heart and understand why that’s the way it should be.
“I would just hope our fans kind of police each other if it goes that route. I’ve been in arenas that are obnoxious. There are teams that we will not play because it was so obnoxious. I’m not putting my team, myself, my staff or my family through that. We’re not going back there and playing,” Calipari said.
Strong words but don’t doubt him.
“So I hope that if we do go this route (to sell alchohol), it doesn’t lead to that. We have the classiest fans. We’ve given standing ovations to other players on opposing teams because they played so well,” Calipari said. “I’m not sure if you’re totally (inebriated) that you would do that. I don’t know.”
I don’t, either, because too much alcohol does change people. I’ve been to arenas/football stadiums where alcohol-related problems occurred. Think back to the tragic accident last year outside Kroger Stadium that resulted in the death of a young fan on his way home.
“I just hope it doesn’t change what we’re about. We beat the No. 1 team in our building and our fans don’t rush the court. We’re supposed to win, that’s what we’re about. They cheer for us and don’t boo the other team or coach. We have a unique environment,” Calipari said.
“If that adds to it and makes it even better, fine. If it takes away, then I’d be disappointed.”