The Southeastern Conference opened the door to member schools selling beer and wine in general seating areas late last month, but not every member institution is leaping at the new opportunity.
The University of Georgia announced Tuesday that it will not sell alcoholic beverages in the general seating areas of UGA athletics venues this coming academic year," according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
“After consideration of the many facets involved with the Southeastern Conference’s revised alcohol policy, the Athletic Association has made the decision to maintain, at this time, the current UGA policy which prohibits the sale of alcoholic beverages in non-premium seating areas of our athletics facilities,” UGA athletic director Greg McGarity said in a statement released Tuesday afternoon. “However, we will conduct an annual review of this policy to determine if any modifications may be needed in the future.”
UGA will allow the sale of alcohol in certain portions of Sanford Stadium that require large financial contributions to the athletic department.
Auburn University has taken a similar stance, as reported this week by oanow.com.
“I think the expectation is that we would study it,” Auburn University president Steven Leath said. “We want to have a high-quality fan experience. And we’re trying to balance family-friendly versus people that would like to have alcohol. So what we’re trying to do is think, ‘what kind of group do we need to put together to get all the right perspectives to make the right decision?’ We don’t want to rush into that.
“There are some pilot programs right now like in Plainsman Park, but we want to get it right rather than get it quick.”
The SEC policy change itself has been a long time coming.
“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 in a press release. “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.”