Will alcohol once again be sold in Tiger stadium?

On Friday, May 31, the Southeastern Conference (SEC) announced a revision to its existing limitations, on the availability of alcoholic beverages, at athletics events.

Under this revised policy, each institution in the SEC can now choose whether they will allow the selling of alcoholic beverages in its athletics venues, subject to certain conference-wide alcohol management expectations.

Any sales of alcoholic beverages in the public seating areas will be limited to beer and wine, and each institution that chooses to sell alcohol will be required to implement a server training program for staff.

The revised SEC policy on alcohol availability was approved during the SEC 2019 Spring Meetings.

This new policy requires 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 the conference membership.

In the past, SEC athletics programs have been prohibited from selling alcohol in public areas of SEC athletics venues.

The revised policy is not to be construed as a requirement or expectation that SEC institutions will sell alcohol at athletic events.

Each institution can now also designate the locations where alcoholic beverages may be available, consistent with Conference-wide alcohol management expectations.

The revised policy adopted by the presidents and chancellors requires institutions to implement a series of Conference-wide alcohol management procedures, including the establishment of designated stationary sales locations, a restriction prohibiting sales by vendors in seating areas, a limit on the number of alcoholic beverages purchased per transaction and designated times that sales must cease specific to each athletics event.

“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 adoption of the revised policy comes after a recommendation by a working group of campus leaders created at the May 2018 SEC Spring Meetings. The group was charged with a review of the existing Conference Game Management Policy governing the availability of alcoholic beverages at SEC athletics events and to identify a direction for consideration by the membership.

“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.”

“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.

SEC Game Management Policy on Alcohol (adopted May 31, 2019; effective August 1, 2019):

Each institution is permitted to determine the permissibility of selling alcoholic beverages in athletics venues and shall establish a policy governing the sale and distribution of alcoholic beverages in its athletics facilities.

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).
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