Welcome to the Big 12 men’s basketball and booze tournament

03/15/2014 5:55 PM

03/15/2014 5:55 PM

Drink up: It’s time for the Big 12 men’s basketball tournament at Sprint Center.

And today through Saturday,

booze for the first time in years will be sold

inside the center during the tourney.

After all, nothing screams “purity of college sports” and “respect student-athletes” more than loading fans up on beer and wine during games played by a lot of 18-to 20-year-olds who aren’t even legally old enough to drink the stuff in Kansas City.

This is an unneeded change from the last nine years, when college officials properly decided not to let booze flow freely because this was a college event.

While Phillips 66 is the official name sponsor of the Big 12 tournament, alcohol is pretty much a co-sponsor.

Check out the dozens of Kansas City bars and restaurants, such as at the nearby Power Light District, that have brought in extra supplies of beer, wine and other booze for their customers this week.

So why is alcohol now for sale inside Sprint Center?

Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby told The Star’s Blair Kerkhoff that it was all about trying to entice people to leave the Power Light District to get to their seats in time for when the games begin. That could reduce the crush of people trying to get inside the doors at the last minute.

Oh, here’s another reason for getting those fans into the arena: A 24-ounce cup of domestic beer goes for $8.75, while small red and white wine bottles are $8.

Meanwhile,

other big-time college conferences such as the Big 10 and SEC are not allowing the sale of alchol at their postseason-events, while another smaller conference approved the change

this year.

Once again, big-time college sports has found yet another way to grab even more money from its fans.

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