Campus Report: How SEC Schools Are Reacting To New Alcohol Rules
THE DAILY offers a sampling of the initial reaction from many SEC schools regarding the conference's decision to end its ban against beer and wine sales in all general-seating areas at conference venues.
LSU: LSU Senior Associate AD/External Communications Robert Munson said that the school "'is already starting to discuss' the new policy, and will review its policy before making a decision" to allow stadium-wide sales. Beer and wine sales are "currently allowed in specific, premium areas at Tiger Stadium and Alex Box Stadium." Munson said it likely would be a "multi-year phase-in process" should alcohol sales be allowed. That is because "infrastructure to provide draft beer ... is not in place" (New Orleans TIMES-PICAYUNE, 6/1).
OLE MISS: Ole Miss interim Chancellor Larry Sparks and interim AD Keith Carter both indicated that they "will not rush into a decision but are also keeping an eye on football season." Carter said, "We're not saying we will, not saying we won't. We have some time before that first football game to figure that out. We'll get back to campus and look at it and see what makes the most sense for [our] institution" (Northwest Mississippi DAILY JOURNAL, 6/1).
AUBURN: Auburn President Steven Leath said that the school will not move to sell beer and wine in "general-seating areas or concourses" this year. Leath: "I would expect no changes this season, and there will be a thoughtful process before we make any decisions" (247SPORTS.com, 5/31). Auburn already allows sales in "premium seating and luxury suites" at Jordan-Hare Stadium. The school also has a "designated area along the right-field line at Plainsman Park" that allows alcohol sales and consumption at baseball games (AL.com, 5/31).
ALABAMA: Alabama officials are not expecting any changes in the school's "current policy at this time" regarding alcohol. A statement reads in part, "We have one of the best game-day atmospheres in the country, and we don't envision making changes at this time" (TUSCALOOSA NEWS, 6/1).
GEORGIA: Georgia President Jere Morehead said that while the school "will 'review,' he feels good about the policies that have been in place." UGA AD Greg McGarity added that the school "would not be driven by the potential for financial gains" (ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 6/1). The school last week announced plans to "cordon off a large space" around Sanford Stadium where fans can "enter a fenced off area" to buy beer and wine. It will allow "no more than 400 people at a time" and is reserved for big donors. Suites and skyboxes are the only other places in the stadium where alcohol is allowed (ATHENS BANNER-HERALD, 6/1).
FLORIDA: Florida AD Scott Stricklin said that he will have to "have conversations with others on campus before he can say" what the school will do (GAINESVILLE SUN, 6/1). Stricklin said that UF is "well positioned to begin selling alcohol based on its recent experience" hosting a Garth Brooks concert in April at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Beer was sold at "kiosks and concession stands, giving UF a chance to see how to implement sales." Stricklin: "I don't think it's that complicated" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 6/1).
TENNESSEE: Tennessee Dir of Media Relations Tyra Haag indicated that the school is "evaluating the best course of action for our campus." UT "won't face any roadblocks from the state level," as Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee earlier this year "signed into law a bill authorizing alcohol sales at UT athletics venues, including Thompson-Boling Arena and Neyland Stadium" (KNOXVILLE NEWS SENTINEL, 6/1).
MISSOURI: Missouri will "begin discussing" whether to allow stadium-wide alcohol sales. If changes are "implemented to general seating, no revisions are expected for those in suites and premium seats," which already allow alcohol (COLUMBIA DAILY TRIBUNE, 6/1). While the school "isn't ready to tap the kegs at Memorial Stadium just yet ... the process is in the works." With "fledgling ticket sales and shrinking attendance impacting Mizzou's football revenue figures the last few years, alcohol sales should provide an economic boon to the athletic department" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 6/1).
MISSISSIPPI STATE: Mississippi State President Mark Keenum "suggested ... that his school would abstain" from offering beer and wine in '19 (SI.com, 5/31).