The NCAA is expected to overturn a ban on alcohol sales at championship events this week, once again begging the question, why can’t fans drink at football and basketball games in the SEC?
Most schools, including Kentucky, have found a way around the SEC’s stadium-wide alcohol sales ban via a loophole that allows alcohol sales in “private, controlled areas,” aka premium seating, and this year, Texas A&M and Auburn pushing the limits even further with general admission beer gardens at baseball games. LSU went as far to open a 1,500-seat general admission “Skyline Club” atop their south end zone this past season. Not surprisingly, LSU is one of the schools in the league pushing for the ban to be lifted, but according to The Advocate, other (unnamed) schools are insisting it stay in place.
“We have some that would like to remove the policy and have others that have no interest in that,” SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said. “From a stadium wide (standpoint), there are those that think ‘Let’s just take the restraint off the conference level.’ But that’s not a unanimous or, I’m not sure right now, a majority position.”
A majority vote of the 14 league presidents and chancellors is required for the policy to change, and that vote could take place as soon as the SEC Spring Meetings in a few weeks in Destin, Florida. For those who fear lifting the ban would result in more debauchery and violence at games, don’t; after testing stadium-wide sales at various championship events, the NCAA reported that the number of alcohol-related incidents actually decreased, “in some cases significantly.” That totally makes sense when you consider the amount of binge drinking that takes place in the parking lot before games. Why pound beers before the game when you know you can drink at the game? Similarly, why leave the game to go drink in the parking lot when you can just go to the concessions stand and get another?
Not only is the SEC’s game-day prohibition silly, it’s totally hypocritical. Why should fans in premium areas be allowed to drink while those in the rest of the stadium cannot? I feel like we go through this debate every year, another reason it’s time for the league to catch up on the times and profit off it. According to HookEm.com, Texas made almost $3 million in alcohol sales at football games over six home games in 2016.
Now, a much more important question…which schools in the league are pushing for the stadium-wide ban on alcohol sales to stay in place?