SEC Lifts Ban on Stadiumwide Alcohol Sales, Gives Schools 'Autonomy' to Decide

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMay 31, 2019

NASHVILLE, TN - MARCH 13:  Greg Sankey the new commissioner of the SEC talks to the media before the quaterfinals of the SEC Basketball Tournament at Bridgestone Arena on March 13, 2015 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey announced Friday the conference is set to lift its ban on stadiumwide alcohol sales Aug. 1.

"Schools will have autonomy," Sankey told reporters. "This now an opportunity for institutions to make responsible and appropriate decisions [about alcohol]."

He added: "There is no expectation that anyone make alcohol available beyond clubs and suites."

The University of Georgia got ahead of the curve by laying out its plan for alcohol sales Wednesday.

Chip Towers of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported UGA is going to create a special area inside Sanford Stadium where members of the Magill Society—donors who commit at least $25,000 over a five-year period—can purchase beer and wine, but they cannot take the drinks back to their seat.

"We have an area that we're going to utilize, that we're going to cordon off and create an area for members of the Magill Society to have limited beer-and-wine sales this year," athletic director Greg McGarity said. "It's available to a certain level of donors, but it's not accessible to fans in general seating areas."

In December, a marketing executive told Michael T. Nietzel of Forbes the increasing number of conferences and schools allowing alcohol sales is a simple matter of trying to help lagging attendance figures.

"The parking is free in my driveway," the executive said. "The bathroom is eight steps away. I have all the cold beer I can drink in my fridge and, if this game is bad, there are another 25 games I can see."

Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports reported in March that overall college football attendance during the 2018 season represented a 22-year low.

The 2019 campaign kicks off Saturday, Aug. 24.

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