As more and more colleges and universities opt to expand alcohol sales at athletic events, the Southeastern Conference is thinking about joining in the fun.
At next week’s SEC meeting in Destin, Fla., conference decision-makers will consider repealing a decades-old bylaw prohibiting member schools from selling alcohol in general admission areas. According to Sports Illustrated, one anonymous athletic director said the topic is “the main thing” to be debated at the meetings.
The pressure for the SEC to loosen its alcohol policy comes at a time when more colleges and universities are adopting more liberal policies. Last fall, Arizona, Oregon, Boston College, Oklahoma State and Colorado all expanded alcohol sales to general admission areas. Last spring the NCAA lifted its long-standing ban on alcohol sales at championship events.
The SEC currently limits alcohol sales to premium seating. Sports Illustrated reports that many in the SEC believe the decision should be left up to individual teams. The conference has never held an official vote on the matter.
Depending on how the discussions at next week’s meetings go, a change in policy could lead to alcohol sponsorships. “I think they oughta lift the ban,” said Elliot Maisel, an Alabama booster and CEO of the Mobile-based Gulf Distributing, which distributes beer and wine throughout the SEC footprint. “Being the only conference in America that bans alcohol says something. It’s time to do it.”