From The Trussville Tribune staff reports
SANDESTIN, Fla. – The Southeastern Conference today announced a revision to its existing limitations on the availability of alcoholic beverages at athletics events. Under this revised policy, 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 on alcohol availability, which was approved during the Conference’s 2019 Spring Meetings, 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.
“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.”
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 policy, which is effective Aug. 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.