First non-sober game goes smoothly, changes to come


Skyler Jackson, Sports Editor (He/Him)

South Dakota State University sold alcohol at last Saturday’s football game for the first time ever. Both officials and fans said everything went smoothly.

Three beer stations, one on the west side, one on the east and one on the south, sold various beers and seltzer drinks during the beginning one hour before kickoff and again until the end of the third quarter. Each station had multiple points of sale, and SDSU’s new food service provider, Sodexo, served the alcohol.

Fans were required to present a valid ID at a wristband station, where they received a wristband and stamp (to prevent the transfer of wristbands). Fans were also expected to have their ID on them and be prepared to show it at any time throughout the game.

“All in all, we felt really good about it,” Assistant Athletic Director Jeff Holm, said. “And the folks at Sodexo did a really nice job with handling lines, and people getting through wrist banding went smooth.”

The University Police Department was also pleased with how well everything went. No arrests were reported during the game, and UPD saw no alcohol-related issues throughout the game.

“Everybody seemed to be following all the rules of getting the wristbands and showing their IDs to get the alcohol,” Timothy Heaton, chief of safety and security, said. “Nobody got too out of control where we had to intervene, so it went well.”

Holm said, the alcohol sales caused nothing unusual to happen compared to football games in the past.

“I’ve talked with UPD, and they felt really pretty good about how things went,” Holm said. “Nothing out of the ordinary from a football game that we’ve had in years past.”

The students and fans that were interviewed were all glad to see alcohol sales at Dykhouse Stadium and said it’s something that could enhance the student experience and get more people to come to games.

“A lot of times, individuals will go to sports bars because they want to drink during football games,” Sam Marchiando, a junior from Rapid City, said. “So if you add that element to football games, it really brings students together, and it gets you fired up.”

SDSU’s home-opener Saturday drew 15,182 fans in attendance, the ninth largest in Dana J. Dykhouse stadium history, as the Jackrabbits defeated UC Davis 24-22.

Students were also pleased with the process of getting the wristbands and purchasing alcohol. Many of them praised how easy and quick the process was for them.

“I thought it was pretty easy,” Jackson Wild, a junior from St. Paul, Minnesota, said. “You just go up, get a wristband and show your ID. If you’re above 21, they give you the wristband, then you hop in line, and the lines were pretty quick. Not really a lot of trouble to go with it.”

SDSU has long been a proponent of beer sales at games and has even sold alcohol in premium seating areas at Dykhouse Stadium for years.

When the South Dakota Board of Regents approved the bill allowing alcohol sales into general admission areas in June, it was up to SDSU on how they wanted to implement it.

Holm said that SDSU’s decision to set up beer stations at the stadium was made with safety being the biggest concern.

“With pretty much anything, it’s the safety of the people who are there, making sure we’re following what our policies and procedures are,” Holm said. “And we felt pretty good about where we set those up and what the lines were. If we can work on the concession lines and how to get those faster, I think we’ll be in a good spot.”

Holm said that while Saturday’s game was a success, the university is always open to making adjustments.

Changes that could be made for this Saturday’s game against Butler could include moving beer and food kiosks to different locations to try and utilize different spots in the stadium and ease up concession lines.

“The east tended to not be as busy so we may change some things around as with every game,” Holm said. “We’ll adjust and see what is better and what will give a better experience.”