SEC revises policy on selling alcoholic beverages at athletic events

SEC revises policy on selling alcoholic beverages at athletic events
SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey speaks during a news conference, Friday, Nov. 30, 2018, in Atlanta. Georgia and Alabama will play Saturday in the Southeastern Conference championship NCAA college football game. (AP Photo/John Bazemore) (Source: John Bazemore)

DESTIN, Fla. (WIS) - The Southeastern Conference is now allowing institutions to determine if they would like to sell alcoholic beverages at their athletic venues.

The announcement came Friday afternoon during the 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.”

Conference officials said the revised policy does not make selling alcohol at athletic venues a requirement or expectation for their members. The policy also does not impact suites, clubs, or private leased areas of the venues.

Should an institution decide to sell alcohol at their athletic venue, the following conference-wide alcohol management policy must be incorporated:

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).

Shortly after the announcement was made, South Carolina athletics director Ray Tanner released the following statement:

“The public sale of alcohol in SEC venues has been a discussion item for several years and there had never been enough momentum to change the policy until this year. While we have discussed this inside the athletics department, now that the ban has been rescinded, we need fully to vet the impact for us with our campus leadership, including the President and the Board of Trustees, as well as campus, local and state agencies. We value the customer experience in all of athletic venues and will not do anything to negatively impact that.”

This new policy goes into effect on August 1.

Copyright 2019 WIS. All rights reserved.