Butler basketball games could soon be more of a party.
The school hopes to sell beer at Bulldogs games at Hinkle Fieldhouse this season, having applied for an alcohol permit, the Indianapolis Star reported.
“Butler has communicated this plan to those who live near campus,” Butler athletic director Barry Collier said in a statement, “and the permit application has been supported by the Butler Tarkington Neighborhood Association.
“Butler is committed to maintaining the exciting and positive gameday experience that our fans and their families enjoy for all contests that take place on our campus.”
The Bulldogs already sell alcohol in limited locations at Hinkle Fieldhouse, but the permit would allow them to sell it arena-wide from concessions stands.
Once a rarity, beer at college sporting events in a growing trend. Minnesota, Florida and Texas, among a number of others have added alcohol sales in recent years. Given the money that would seem likely to be generated, it’s a trend that will probably become even more pervasive in college athletics.
For many of the programs that have seen their revenue grow due to a switch in conferences, the renovation of current facilities (and even the building of new facilities) tends to be one of the side effects. However even with the added revenue there’s still the need for fundraising in order to complete those projects, because regardless of conference affiliation donors willing to help finance projects are of great importance.
At Butler donors stepped up in a big way when the school asked for donations for its project to renovate Hinkle Fieldhouse, with the school having announced back in January that it had surpassed its goal of raising $16 million. At that time more than $17.1 million had been raised for the project, which is intended to make Hinkle more modern while also preserving its history.
Thursday Mike DeCourcy of The Sporting News provided a look at some of the changes, which include a four-sided scoreboard and brand new locker rooms.
The seating area is being renovated so that there’ll be only a few bleachers remaining and the chairback seats installed are more comfortable and modern. That will cost the arena, which previously held 10,000 for basketball, some seating capacity.
Butler also has built new weight rooms, training rooms and therapy areas for use by the basketball team and other Bulldogs athletes.
For some traditionalists the changes to Hinkle may be something they’re hesitant to embrace but in this current era of college athletics sparkling facilities have an impact on multiple aspects of a program, including recruiting and even non-conference scheduling. The changes being made to Hinkle give head coach Brandon Miller something to pitch to recruits as he looks to build Butler into a program that can compete for Big East championships.
With Roosevelt Jones lost for the season before it even began Butler struggled in its debut season in the Big East, finishing the 2013-14 campaign with a 14-17 record (4-14 Big East). Leading scorer Kellen Dunham (16.4 ppg, 4.0 rpg) returns, but the Bulldogs will have to account for the loss of second-leading scorer Khyle Marshall (14.9, 4.8) in 2014-15.