Alcohol consumption at University of Idaho tailgating and pregame events was given a green light by the State Board of Education for a second consecutive year during its meeting at North Idaho College in Coeur d’Alene.

The once-contentious item received approval Thursday, among a raft of other items on the board’s consent agenda, with little comment.

Last year, UI was authorized for alcohol consumption for tailgaters during pregame events.

An SBOE policy requires schools to request permission on a year-to-year basis for exceptions to the state’s rule banning alcohol on campus. UI and other Idaho schools received tentative approval to serve alcohol at pregame events in 2015 as part of a yearlong pilot program, but a similar request was rejected in June of 2016.

The school had never made such a request for approval of alcohol consumption during tailgating parties until 2016 after the long-standing practice came under scrutiny. That request was rejected the following August, kicking off a two year hiatus for alcohol consumption during UI athletics events.

In October 2017, the state board approved policy changes that permitted alcohol under specific circumstances at athletic events on university campuses as long as prior board approval was granted. In June of last year, the board approved booze for both tailgating and pregame events — that approval was essentially renewed Thursday.

“What’s important for us really is the experience for our fans,” UI Communications Director Jodi Walker. “They have an expectation of what game day looks like, and we want to be able to provide that experience that they expect.”

The board also heard discussions related to a UI line item request to ask the state Legislature to appropriate a little less than $3 million to offset student professional fees in the law school and help balance the departmental budget. The request will be further discussed by the board’s Business Affairs and Human Resources Committee before being considered for approval in a later meeting.

Scott Jackson can be reached at (208) 883-4636, or by email to

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