For years, the Southeastern Conference stuck to its old ways in one of the most traditional regions of the country. Selling alcohol for the general public was never allowed at football games in an attempt to keep wild college-aged kids from getting even drunker inside stadiums. (It didn’t matter. We became masters at sneaking flasks in long ago.)
Finally at the 2019 SEC Spring Meetings, the prohibition on alcohol sales to fans in the general seating areas has been lifted. But don’t get too excited just yet. Not every school is eager to start selling overpriced beers during games.
Here are the list of “Conference-wide alcohol management expectations” that every school must abide by, which go into effect on August 1, 2019:
- 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
- Designated stop times for sale and/or distribution (varies based on sport)
While each school gets to choose if they want to incorporate the new alcohol policy into game day sporting events, not everyone is ready to jump on board.
As Florida athletic director Scott Stricklin said, “[The SEC is] a pretty traditional league. There’s a lot of societal, cultural pressure in the south. We’re probably a little bit slow to develop in those kinds of areas. Our league is a reflection of that.”
Alcohol sales were one of the most important topics at this year’s meetings, but it certainly wasn’t the only one.
University of Kentucky President Dr. Eli Capilouto was named chairman of the SEC Executive Committee. In addition, President Jere Morehead of the University of Georgia will become Vice Chair, while Dr. Kent Fuchs, the President of the University of Florida, will serve as Third President of the Executive Committee.
SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey also announced numerous student-athlete awards as meetings concluded on Friday in Destin, Florida.
Brad Davis Community Service Leaders of the Year
– Sam Ahrenholz, Florida track and field
– Megan Rauh, Auburn equestrian
H. Boyd McWhorter Scholar-Athletes of the Year
– Kristin Quah, Vanderbilt bowling
– Nathan Hite, Texas A&M track and field
SEC Professor of the Year
– Dr. Gabriela Gonzalez, Louisiana State University
So, it might be some time before SEC football fans are throwing back shots during halftime, but this latest move by the conference will at least open the door for universities like Arkansas, Missouri and Tennessee to get more fans in the doors, and keep them there, throughout the NCAA college football season.