Football fans: How’s your breath?

03Aug09

During my drive home tonight, I heard an interesting story on Minnesota Public Radio. Apparently the U of M is hoping that administering breath tests will keep rowdiness to a minimum during football games at their new stadium.

In a nutshell, fans who become “intoxicated troublemakers” will be ejected from the stadium. The next time they want to see a game, they’ll be processed through a “special line” where a security officer will administer a Breathalyzer test.

If the student is under 21 and registers any alcohol, he or she will be sent away. Legal-age students will be allowed to register up to an .08 blood alcohol level (the legal limit for driving in Minnesota) before they’re sent packing.

While I applaud the program’s good intentions, at best it seems impractical. At worst, it’ll likely be expensive—and totally ineffective.

Here’s why: Behavioral change cannot be mandated.

If a 21-year-old kid already has a history of being an obnoxious drunk, temporarily restricting his/her access to booze will do nothing to change his/her long-term behavior.

Wouldn’t it be better to put the effort (and money) into education instead of enforcement?



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