The Southeastern Conference has revised its alcohol policy — but not all schools are required to follow suit.
With the rule change approved during the SEC spring meetings this week — a policy adopted Friday that will be made effective August 1 — each school now has the autonomy to determine whether its athletic venues will serve beer and wine in general seating. This will not affect the existing policy that currently permits the purchase of alcohol in VIP suites and private club areas.
“Our policy governing alcohol sales has been a source of considerable discussion and respectful debate among our member universities in recent years,” said SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey in a statement. “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.”
According to Sports Illustrated's Ross Dellenger, Auburn is among four SEC schools that will not adopt the new policy this upcoming football season — for now.
Auburn University president Steven Leath said at the spring meetings that Auburn fans should expect "no changes" in Jordan-Hare Stadium this season, according to a report from Brandon Marcello of 247Sports.
"I would expect no changes this season, and there will be a thoughtful process before we make any decisions," Leath said. "Sometime in the future (we'll discuss it), and it would have to be an inclusive process where we engage the board (of trustees), fans, stakeholders."
Auburn's Board of Trustees next meet June 7. The conference's alcohol policy is not currently on the docket.
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"President Leath, along with the majority of SEC presidents, voted in favor of giving member schools the autonomy to decide about alcohol sales in their respective athletics venues under guidelines set by the conference," a University spokesperson told The Plainsman. "If Auburn chooses to make any changes in alcohol sales at its athletic facilities, it would do so through a thoughtful, deliberative process to consider carefully the impacts on health, safety and the overall fan experience.
When asked to confirm the 247Sports report that Auburn will not provide general-seating alcohol sales this coming football season, the spokesperson told The Plainsman, "no decision has been made."
The conference said it will review the results of the new ruling each year and update the policy as needed.
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