SEC removes prohibition on alcohol sales in stadiums; UA President Bell involved in studying issue
In a major policy change, the Southeastern Conference (SEC) on Friday announced the end of its longstanding prohibition on beer and wine being sold for general seating in its members’ stadiums during athletic contests.
The Montgomery Advertiser’s Alex Byington reported that Dr. Stuart Bell, president of the University of Alabama, was a member of the select five-member working group who helped study the issue, which resulted in new regulations being adopted.
The new alcohol policies will be effective August 1, well in time for college football season. Hard liquor sales will still be banned.
New regulations as follows:
Here is the SEC’s updated alcohol policy regulations that each individual conference institution must abide by if/when it provides alcohol sales in its stadiums: pic.twitter.com/jJyP4X621q
— Alex Byington (@_AlexByington) May 31, 2019
Individual universities will now have the power to decide whether to allow alcohol sales in general seating and concourses inside their stadiums. Many SEC programs, including the University of Alabama and Auburn University, already allow alcohol in private suites.
UA Athletic Director Greg Byrne has been a proponent of ending the SEC’s blanket alcohol sales prohibition. The new policies could be big boosts to UA and Auburn’s home basketball game revenues, if the universities eventually choose to participate, in addition to the obvious football possibilities.
Auburn Undercover is reporting that Auburn President Steven Leath said the university will not offer alcohol sales for general seating at home football games in 2019. The following year might be a possibility but is not a certainty even with the SEC’s new regulations.
“My personal opinion is that we ought to just think about, from a campus perspective, … what makes sense for us and I don’t have an answer for that,” Auburn Athletics Director Allen Greene told Auburn Undercover. “That’s a much more collaborative institutional discussion.”
Alabama Media Group is reporting that Byrne on Friday only noted that UA was not “leading the charge” regarding in-stadium alcohol sales. He has previously advocated for each respective institution being able to study the issue and make the best decision for their unique situation regarding alcohol sales at athletic events.
An official UA statement concluded, “We have one of the best game-day atmospheres in the country, and we don’t envision making changes at this time.”
UA Official Statement on SEC alcohol policy revision pic.twitter.com/ZkenlNPPlf
— Cecil Hurt (@CecilHurt) May 31, 2019
This is a breaking story and may be updated with additional comments.
Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn