Former judge's complaint stalls beer sales at McKale
Basketball games in McKale Center will have to be enjoyed sober for the rest of the season.
James Bly, a local resident, filed a protest with the Arizona State Liquor Board, which has stalled the University of Arizona's plans to sell alcohol during basketball games.
In his letter, Bly wrote he was concerned that "selling liquor at athletic events at the University of Arizona will result in more crowd violence, the sale of liquor to minors and the possibility of lawsuits against the university if a fan at a game is impaired" and suffers an accident.
Joel Hauff, associate vice president of Student Affairs, said this was the only protest filed at the state level.
Bly is a former administrative law judge with the Arizona Department of Transportation and said in his letter that his experiences with DUI cases is what shaped his opinion.
When asked if Bly's protest held more weight due to his background, Hauff responded that “anyone that lived within a mile of the McKale Center that had concern about obtaining a liquor license there has a right to file a protest with the State and have them be heard before the Liquor Board."
Hauff dismissed concerns that Bly's status as a former judge weighed heavier on the minds of the Liquor Board than an ordinary citizen. "I don’t think it gives credibility one way or the other; it is simply a part of the process," Hauff said.
The university had hoped to start selling liquor as early this month but is now waiting for the hearing date to be re-scheduled. The earliest a hearing can be scheduled is March, too late for any games in McKale Center.
When notified of the hearing date, the UA will present information in relation to security and safety planned for McKale Center, while also presenting current measures taken for the UA's other six, already-approved liquor licenses.
Hauff also noted that no bid for bartending services had been granted. “We did not have a contract in place yet because we didn’t have a liquor license,” Hauff said. “Until you have a liquor license in hand, it’s not a done deal.”
Despite the hiccup in plans, Hauff said the UA is optimistic the state will eventually grant the license.
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