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Youths will no longer sell drinks at Camp Randall

  • Associated Press
  • August 30, 2013 - 11:30 AM

MADISON, Wis. — A new vendor at Camp Randall is ending a decades-old tradition of youths selling drinks in the stands during games.

Learfield Levy Foodservice LLC will exclusively sell soft drinks from the Dr Pepper Snapple Group at the stadium. The company policy requires all employees to be at least 18 years old.

The nonprofit W Club ran concession operations since 1962 and sponsored the youth program, according to the Wisconsin State Journal (http://bit.ly/1fod8nj ).

But the school put the drink contract up for a bid. The contract is expected to be worth up to $24 million over the next decade to the university.

"We weren't intending for any consequence like this to happen but at the same time this is the company we chose and we're happy with them," said Justin Doherty, UW associate athletic director for external relations.

Levy has advertised the hawker jobs on Craigslist and to University of Wisconsin-Madison students, among other places. It's unknown how much interest they've received.

In recent years the job requirements were that the vendor had to be at least 12 years old, pick up a work permit from school for $10 and wear the yellow top issued to him or her. They also had to show up for at least six games a year and arrive two hours early.

The pay was commission-based with tips — top earners brought home a bit more than $100 a game — and it came with the added bonus of watching games inside the bowl once the selling was done in the fourth quarter.

Shane Ryan worked Badgers games last season as a 12-year-old.

"How sad is that?" asked Kelly Ryan, Shane's mother. "I think the university does fairly well financially and can leave some things alone that have a commitment to the community."

Mike Lipp, the athletic director at Madison West High School, has taught in the area for four decades and has seen many students enjoy the program.

"These guys are coming in not knowing the culture making a whole seismic shift," Lipp said. "I hope it works for them."

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