Schatz: House bill that would ban drinking at college sporting events has little support

A southwest North Dakota state representative said Saturday that a proposed bill to ban alcohol at college sporting events is not receiving a good reception among constituents and politicians alike.

Mike Schatz, R-New England, said the bill sponsored in the North Dakota House by Rep. Chuck Damschen, R-Hampden, does not seem to have much support.

“From all the people I’ve talked to, I didn’t find a whole lot of them who are in favor of it,” Schatz said.

The bill proposes a ban on drinking and alcohol possession at college sporting events — including, and perhaps most importantly, tailgate parties — if minors younger than 18 are attending. Basically, that means every college sporting event in North Dakota.

Damschen has told media members that the bill is an effort to combat underage drinking.

At Dickinson State, there is no alcohol allowed at sporting events and the new Badlands Activities Center is an alcohol-free facility during sporting events.

However, DSU instituted an all-ages, pre-game tailgate party in the stadium’s parking lot last fall where alcohol was permitted for five hours prior to Blue Hawk football games and during the first half and halftime. Drinks from the tailgate party could not be taken into the BAC.

Security was in place in an effort to curb any would-be underage drinking and there were no reported problems.

Schatz, who was the head football coach at New England High School more nearly 30 years and won four 9-man state championship, said the proposed bill may be trying to draw attention to the possible problems that are created by serving alcohol in an environment where minors are present.

“I don’t think it’s going to make it,” said Schatz, serving his second consecutive term for District 36. “I don’t think there’s very much support for it. I think people are trying to bring attention to it.”

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