SEC lifts ban on alcohol sales at stadiums

The SEC has revised its policy on alcoholic beverages in member schools' sporting venues, paving the way for fans to be able to buy beer and wine at games beginning in August.

When WHNT News 19 asked locals their thoughts on this revised policy, people like Tyler Chan said it's long overdue.

"I think it's a good idea. I think it's long overdue. There's certainly nothing wrong with doing it responsibly," said Chan.

The decision is up to each school in the conference, but the revision means schools will be able to sell alcohol in public areas of SEC athletics venues.

Chase Shelton, the general manager of The Poppey in downtown Huntsville says he thinks it'd be safer for universities to adopt this policy change because it would keep people from over-drinking before the game, or attempting to sneak alcohol into the games.

"You go to the little liquor store next door, you buy your little flask or your little pint and you sneak it in. Think of all the people that do that! They need a stricter policy for going into the game," said Shelton.

University of Alabama President Stuart Bell was one of the members of the group that looked at the issue in May 2018 and made the recommendation to revise the policy. Representatives from Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee, and Florida also were in the group.

The SEC did not say which schools, if any, were actively considering alcohol sales.

However, ABC 33/40 reports that the University of Alabama and Auburn University have no plans to change their alcohol policy at this time.

The revision was approved during the conference's 2019 spring meeting.

"Our policy governing alcohol sales has been a source of considerable discussion and respectful debate among our member universities in recent years," SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said in a news release. "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."

The sales in public areas are limited to beer and wine.  They also will be required to be sold at designated locations throughout a venue, and an ID will be required at the place of purchase.

The designated stop times set by the SEC would be:

  • Football: End of third quarter
  • Basketball: Men's games, second half 12-minute TV timeout; Women's games, end of third quarter
  • Baseball: End of the top of the 7th inning
  • Softball: End of the top of the 5th inning
  • Other sports: No later than when 75 percent of the event's regulation length competition is scheduled to be completed

The new policy does not include suites, clubs or private leased areas.

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