SEC lifts ban on the sale of alcohol at athletic events
The SEC announced that they're lifting the existing limitations on the availability of alcoholic beverages at athletic events, previously schools were not allowed to sell alcohol at any athletic event.
The SEC states, “Each institution in the Conference now has the autonomy to determine the permissibility of selling alcoholic beverages in its athletics venues, subject to certain Conference-wide alcohol management expectations.”
The revised SEC policy was approved during the conference’s 2019 spring meetings, requiring any SEC institution choosing to permit alcohol sales at athletics events to “establish policies governing the sale and distribution of alcoholic beverages consistent with requirements established and agreed to by Conference management.”
SEC institutions don’t have to and are not expected to sell alcohol at athletic events, and each school can leave it up to their discretion.
"We are proud of the great game-day atmospheres the SEC and our member schools have cultivated throughout our history, and no other conference rivals the SEC in terms of our ability to offer an intense yet family-friendly atmosphere for all of our fans," said University of South Carolina President Harris Pastides, current chair of the SEC Presidents and Chancellors. "This policy is intended to enhance the game-day experience at SEC athletics events by providing our schools the autonomy to make appropriate decisions for their respective campuses while also establishing expectations for responsible management of the sale and distribution of alcoholic beverages."
The change comes from a recommendation by a working group of campus leaders created at the May 2018 SEC Spring Meetings.
"Our policy governing alcohol sales has been a source of considerable discussion and respectful debate among our member universities in recent years," said SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey. "As a Conference, we have been observant of trends in the sale and consumption of alcohol at collegiate sporting events and have drawn upon the experiences and insights of our member schools which have responsibly established limited alcohol sales within controlled spaces and premium seating areas. We remain the only conference to set forth league-wide standards for the responsible management of the sale of alcoholic beverages."
Sales will be limited to beer and wine in public seating areas. Servers will also be required to do a server training program.
"We are committed as a Conference to ensuring that all changes in policy are implemented in ways that respect and sustain the traditions that make the SEC game-day experience exceptional for all attendees," Sankey said.
The policy, which is effective August 1, 2019, does not impact suites, clubs or private leased areas in which the sale and distribution of alcoholic beverages was previously permitted under existing SEC regulations.
Members of the SEC Working Group included Stuart Bell, President of the University of Alabama, Michael Sagas, Faculty Athletics Representative at the University of Florida; Hunter Yurachek, Director of Athletics at the University of Arkansas; Sarah Reesman, Senior Deputy Athletics Director at the University of Missouri; and Troy Lane, Chief of Police at the University of Tennessee.
SEC Game Management Policy on Alcohol (adopted May 31, 2019; effective August 1, 2019):
Institutions that offer alcohol sales in public areas must incorporate Conference-wide alcohol management expectations, which include:
- Alcoholic beverages are to be sold and dispensed only at designated stationary locations;
- Alcoholic beverages may not be sold by vendors within the seating areas;
- Identification check is required at every point of sale to prevent sales to minors;
- Alcoholic beverage sales are limited to beer and wine only (no hard liquor or mixed drinks may be sold in public seating areas);
- Limits must be established on the number of drinks purchased at one time by an individual;
- Alcohol must be dispensed into cups;
- Safe server training and additional training for staff to handle high risk situations is required; and
- Designated stop times for sale and/or distribution of alcohol must be enforced as follows: Football (end of 3rd quarter); Basketball (Men's-Second half 12-minute TV timeout; Women's-End of 3rd quarter); Baseball (end of the top of 7th inning); Softball (end of the top of the 5th inning); and Other Sports (At a designated time, no later than when 75% of the event's regulation length competition is scheduled to be completed).