Q. What’s different about the — I guess the thing I struggle with and I think a lot of people do, what’s different about the fan who can afford a premium seat being able to be responsible enough to drink? It feels like it’s like the general population cannot be trusted to drink responsibly if they’re given that.
MITCH BARNHART: “It’s an availability issue. It’s a little more confined to that area. We have fewer people in terms of responsibility, in terms of that we don’t have, but when you do the math, it’s not near the numbers, the mass numbers that we’re responsible for, and I don’t say responsible for — there’s decision making that goes into all that, too. Everyone — there’s no one size fits all in these things.
“I think each institution is going to have to make their own decisions. There’s some institutions that have said, hey, we’re going to open it up and that’s what fans want. I’ll be honest with you. I think that as I read my mail and I read a lot of it, there wasn’t this overarching piece that said, hey, if you open up alcohol sales that your department is going to just — your season ticket sales are going to explode and you’re going to get all this new fan base.
“The other side to that was, I’ll be honest with you, I felt like if we said we are going to do that at this point in time with what people have enjoyed about the experience at Kroger Field and at Rupp Arena, part of that is that they would walk away from us if we did that.
“So I felt like we were in a better — not a better spot, and I say it’s not — it wasn’t — let me separate the two pieces, too. I say it was not a money decision. The money decision to have people come and buy tickets and be a part of our group, that is a money decision, I get that. So don’t think I’m speaking out of both sides of my mouth.
“The money decision I am talking about is the selling of the alcohol. I’m not worried about that part. I want to get this part right. I’m not saying we have. I hope we have. I hope we’ve got it right. I hope we’ve got it at least for this period of time, but we’ll monitor it and see where it goes, but at this point in time I feel like that’s the right place for us to be, and that’s my call. Dr. Capilouto has been terrific and supportive and we’ve talked about it, but between our campus safety folks and everyone else, we feel like it’s the right place for us to be.”