The SEC announced on Friday that the conference will no longer prohibit alcohol sales in public areas at sporting events, effective August 1.
The conference was one of the last to prohibit alcohol sales and the topic was among the top discussions at the 2019 Spring Meetings.
This is a step in the right direction for schools trying to get people to buy season tickets, and stay in the stadium during the game. Low attendance has been a problem that has plagued college football programs around the country, including Ole Miss, in recent years.
While it will be up to each universities whether to permit alcohol sales, there are several league-wide policies each school must maintain.
Hard liquor and mixed drinks would not be available as sales will be limited to beer and wine only, and there will be a limit to how many beverages can be purchased at one time. All alcoholic drinks must also be in dispensed into cups.
Alcohol sales would halt at the end of the third quarter of football games, at the 12-minute TV timeout in the second half of basketball games, in the middle of the seventh inning at baseball games, and in the middle of the fifth in softball.
Schools will also have to implement additional safe server training for all gameday staff.
While it’s not in the league-wide policy, it’s likely most schools would continue to prohibit sales in and around the student section considering most students would be underage.
There is a state law that says “no alcoholic beverage shall be sold or consumed at any public athletic event at any public school, community or junior college, college or university”, but it’s likely that law could be revised should Ole Miss or Mississippi State choose to try and implement the new policy.
You can also find that alcohol is already being dispensed in various private and premium areas throughout Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.
The policy revision from the SEC gives administration and new Interim A.D. Keith Carter the decision on whether to permit public alcohol sales as soon as the 2019 football season. The first home game will be September 7 against Arkansas at 6:30 p.m.