Alcohol will be on the agenda when SEC officials meet in the spring.
According to a report from Al.com, SEC associate commissioner Herb Vincent said the conference will review its alcohol policy for both neutral site games and home games off campus. The conference doesn’t plan to soften its stance of not selling alcohol in on-campus stadiums any time soon, but LSU athletic director Joe Alleva thinks beer sales “would enhance the fan experience” at football games.
“I don’t think that’s something that would necessarily be a negative for drunkenness and it might curtail the drunkenness if you sold beer,” Alleva said. “Right now, they drink excessively in the parking lot before they come in because they can’t get alcohol inside. Perhaps if they had access in the stadium, they wouldn’t drink as much when they come in. I think it’s something we have to talk about. This may come down the road in the future, and I wouldn’t be opposed to it.”
The University of Texas is the latest school to begin beer sales at its athletic events. If all goes smoothly, the sales may continue at Longhorns football games in the fall. Other schools around the country have also instituted beer sales at their respective stadiums in recent years.
Although the league’s policy will be up for discussion, SEC Commissioner Mike Slive is admittedly a proponent of the current stance which states that “no alcoholic beverages shall be sold or dispensed for public consumption anywhere in the facility and the possession and/or consumption of alcoholic beverages in the public areas of the facility shall be prohibited.”
“Up to now, we like our rule,” Slive said. “I haven’t heard any concerted interested in changing our rule, but our people would like to talk about it. We’re institutions of higher education and alcohol on campuses has been an issue for a long while. I think this is an area where we want to walk slowly and carefully.”
Vincent said the discussion centers more so on neutral site games and off-campus home games. The conference hopes to “clean up language” relating to its policy on sales at neutral site games like the upcoming Florida-Georgia game in Jacksonville, Fla. and the Arkansas-Texas A&M game in Arlington, Texas and the games Arkansas hosts in Little Rock.
If the conference were to permit alcohol sales for these neutral site games and alcohol sales go smoothly at another school like Texas, there’s always the potential for policies to change down the road. Alcohol sales would certainly boost revenue in concessions, but on-campus binge drinking is always worrisome to universities.
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