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SEC puts decision on alcohol sales in hands of member schools

The Southeastern Conference announced on Friday a revision to its limitations on the availability of alcoholic beverages at athletics events.



FAYETTEVILLE — The Southeastern Conference announced on Friday a revision to its limitations on the availability of alcoholic beverages at athletics events.

Under the revised policy, each institution in the conference now has the autonomy to determine the possibility of selling alcoholic beverages in its athletics venues, subject to certain conference-wide alcohol management expectations.

At this time, no decision has been made by Arkansas on whether it will be implementing the sales of alcoholic beverages in public areas of its athletics’ venues.

The revised policy adopted by the presidents and chancellors at the 2019 SEC Spring Meetings, requires any SEC institution choosing to permit alcohol sales at athletics events to implement a series of Conference-wide alcohol management procedures, including the establishment of designated stationary sales locations, a restriction prohibiting sales by vendors in seating areas, a limit on the number of alcoholic beverages purchased per transaction and designated times that sales must cease specific to each athletics event.

Under the policy, sales of alcoholic beverages in the public seating areas would be limited to beer and wine, and each institution will be required to implement a server training program for staff.

“SEC member institutions now have an opportunity to provide an amenity that is already readily available at many collegiate and professional sports events as well as other entertainment venues,” athletics director Hunter Yurachek said. “The revised policy allows for institutions to increase game day options for fans, while also providing a framework of guidelines and educational programming regarding responsible consumption.

“In many cases across the nation, schools that initiated alcohol sales throughout the venue, saw declines in the number of alcohol-related incidents at their games. With the adoption of the revised policy, Razorback Athletics will work with the appropriate members of our campus community to explore the possible addition of this new amenity for future events to be held in our venues.”

The policy, which is effective August 1, 2019, does not impact suites, clubs or privately licensed areas in which the sale and distribution of alcoholic beverages was previously permitted under existing SEC regulations.

Arkansas has offered the sale of alcoholic beverages in club areas of Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium since 2014.

The adoption of the revised policy comes after a recommendation by a working group of campus leaders created at the May 2018 SEC Spring Meetings.

The group was charged with a review of the existing Conference Game Management Policy governing the availability of alcoholic beverages at SEC athletics events and to identify a direction for consideration by the membership.

Members of the SEC Working Group included Yurachek along with Stuart Bell, president of Alabama, Michael Sagas, faculty athletics representative at Florida; Sarah Reesman, senior deputy athletics director at Missouri; and Troy Lane, chief of police at Tennessee.


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