SEC lifts ban on stadium-wide alcohol sales

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[Staff Photo/Erin Nelson

On those hot, steamy days in The Swamp or those sweaty afternoons at McKethan Stadium, Florida fans now may have the option of chilling out with a cold one or two.

At the SEC spring meetings Friday in Destin, the SEC lifted its ban on stadium-wide alcohol sales, with restrictions. The effective date is Aug. 1, less than a month from the start of UF’s 2019 football season.

Each school can determine whether or not it will sell alcohol — just beer and wine — at all of its athletic venues.

UF athletic director Scott Stricklin told members of the media before the ban was lifted that he will need to have conversations with others on campus before he can say whether alcohol will be served in The Swamp this fall and at all other Florida athletic events.

The SEC ban comes with the following restrictions:

  • Alcohol can only be served at designated stationary locations and cannot be sold by vendors in the stands.
  • Only beer and wine can be sold, no hard liquor.
  • Limits must be established on the number of drinks purchased at one time by an individual.
  • Alcohol must be dispensed in cups.
  • IDs will be required to purchase beer or wine.
  • There are designated times when the sale of alcohol is cut off. For football, it is the end of the third quarter; for men’s basketball it is at the 12-minute timeout in the second half; for womens’ basketball is is at the end of the third quarter; for baseball it is the end of the top of the seventh inning; for softball, end of the top of the fifth inning; all other sports at a designated time, no later later than when 75 percent of the event’s regulation length competition is scheduled to be completed.

The possible lifting of the ban on alcohol has been a popular topic of conversation at recent league meetings. On Friday, the league made it happen.

“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. “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.”

Each school that chooses to sell alcohol will be required to implement a server training program for staff.

“We are committed as a Conference to ensuring that all changes in policy are implemented in ways that respect and sustain the traditions that make the SEC game-day experience exceptional for all attendees,” Sankey said.

Schools will not be required to sell alcohol. It’s a decision that each institution will make.

“Each institution has the autonomy to decide the permissibility of alcohol sales to the general public and to designate the locations where alcoholic beverages may be available, consistent with conference-wide alcohol management expectations, each university’s policies, and state or local regulations governing alcohol sales and/or consumption,” the SEC said in a release at the conclusion of Friday’s meetings.

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