Those attending Southeastern Conference football games starting in September may be allowed to purchase alcohol.
The SEC announced Friday that each individual school has the authority to determine whether to sell alcohol at sporting events starting Aug. 1.
The revision of the conference’s policy comes as the biggest announcement from this week’s SEC spring meetings in Destin, Fla., where representatives from all 14 member schools converged.
The league’s chancellors and presidents approved the alcohol-policy change 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, a press release stated.
Soon after the SEC confirmed the revisions, the University of Missouri released a statement saying that the school will begin discussing whether general alcohol sales will be allowed at Tigers’ sports events.
“We appreciate the Southeastern Conference developing a policy that provides us the authority to determine what is best for the University of Missouri regarding the sale of alcohol in public areas within our athletic venues,” University of Missouri Chancellor Alexander N. Cartwright and Missouri Athletic Director Jim Sterk said in a combined statement. “Our guiding principle in any decision will be maintaining the safety of our fans, student-athletes and staff while creating an atmosphere that reflects our institutional values.
“We will begin a process with the Intercollegiate Athletics Committee to discuss the potential sale and consumption of alcohol in university facilities in the near future. The IAC is a standing committee of MU that has broad representation from the campus community and includes faculty, staff, students and alumni.”
For several years, the SEC has banned liquor sales among general seating at sporting events. The conference has only allowed alcohol service to those in premium seats and private box suites.
Missouri and other SEC schools could decide to not allow alcohol sales this fall and nothing would change about the concession experience at games.
If changes are implemented to general seating, no revisions are expected for those in suites and premium seats.
“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 in a statement. “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.”
Some of those conference expectations for alcohol sales include:
- 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.
- Designated stop times for sale and/or distribution of alcohol must be enforced as follows: football (end of third quarter); men’s basketball (second half 12-minute TV timeout); women’s basketball (end of third quarter); baseball (end of the top of the seventh inning); softball (end of the top of the fifth inning) and other sports at a designated time, no later than when 75 percent of the event’s regulation is scheduled to be completed.
The SEC said it will review the policy each year to determine cooperation with established expectations and evaluate fan conduct and alcohol-related incidents to determine whether further revisions are needed.