HONOLULU -- For Hawaii fans, it's not just the football
season that seems to be slipping away. Warrior followers may have
to do without a cold one when tailgating next year.
The Aloha Stadium Authority on Tuesday agreed to hold a public
hearing on plans to ban alcohol in the stadium's parking lot during
high school and college regular season sporting events.
The hearing will be scheduled after the University of Hawaii's
regular football season ends Dec. 3, when the Warriors play San
Diego State. The hearing could also be held on a weekend or at
night to increase attendance.
Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona has been asking for the ban, along
with UH interim President David McClain. They argue that beer
drinking has contributed to unruly behavior at a stadium frequented
by many families.
Alcohol will still be sold inside the stadium. Vendors who sell
beer and food at the 50,000-seat Aloha Stadium had spoken against banning
alcohol inside the stadium, saying it would hurt their sales.
The proposal to ban alcohol from the stadium parking lot still
needs approval from Gov. Linda Lingle.
Student government president Grant Teichman said he was upset
with the authority's vote, saying most students oppose the ban.
"It's really going to hurt the students who just want to go out
there and have a good time," said Teichman, noting that 40 student
senators representing all university programs have unanimously
voted against the ban.
"It will dramatically affect tailgating, one of the few
traditions that our students have," he said.
But student Scott Alonso said the ban is needed to prevent
fights like the one that happened in 2002 when Hawaii played
Cincinnati, and in 2003, when the Warriors faced Houston.
"I think it's the right message," said Alonso, who is also
sports editor for the school's student-run newspaper, Ka Leo O
Hawaii. "Sports is not about alcohol. Sports is for people to
McClain had originally sought to have alcohol banned inside the
stadium because he didn't think police would be able to control it
in the parking lot during tailgating.
"He thought that there might be enforceable problems with
that," said university spokeswoman Carolyn Tanaka. "But we will
work with the authority."