SANDESTIN, Fla. - Each institution in the Southeastern Conference will have autonomy to determine the permissibility of alcoholic beverage sales in its athletics venues under a new revision announced by the SEC today.

In the past, alcoholic beverage sales were not permitted in public areas of SEC athletics venues. The new revision is not a requirement or expectation.

The revised policy was approved during the Conference’s 2019 Spring Meetings and requires institutions choosing to sell alcoholic beverages at athletics events to establish sale and distribution policies that follow requirements established and agreed to by the Conference membership. The sales must also be consistent with university, local and state regulations.

“We are proud of the great game-day atmospheres the SEC and our member schools have cultivated throughout our history, and no other conference rivals the SEC in terms of our ability to offer an intense yet family-friendly atmosphere for all of our fans,” said University of South Carolina President Harris Pastides, current chair of the SEC Presidents and Chancellors. “This policy is intended to enhance the game-day experience at SEC athletics events by providing our schools the autonomy to make appropriate decisions for their respective campuses while also establishing expectations for responsible management of the sale and distribution of alcoholic beverages.”

A working group of campus leaders that was formed at the spring meetings reviewed the existing conference policy governing the availability of alcoholic beverages and recommended that the conference adopts a new policy.

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

Sales of alcoholic beverages in public seating areas will be limited to beer and wine, and institutions must provide staff with a server training program.

“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.  

The policy goes into effect on August 1, 2019. It will not affect suites, clubs or private leased areas where alcoholic beverages were previously sold and distributed under the former regulations.