The drought across the Southeastern Conference is finally over. School leaders within the conference elected to lift the ban on alcohol sales in general seating areas, and now, that decision shifts to individual schools, according to a press release.
LSU announced it will begin the sale of alcohol at the start of the 2019 football season on Thursday (July 25).
“This is all about enhancing the fan experience, responding to the feedback from our fans and doing it responsibly,” said LSU athletic director Scott Woodward in a press release . “It’s a big addition to our events and we believe it will be a positive one overall, but we are going about it with the appropriate mindset and thorough planning.”
LSU says it will sell a variety of domestic and imported beers along with red and white wine, but there will no be points of sale near the student section in the north side of the stadium. Prices of the alcohol has not yet been determined.
Previously, the sale of alcohol was limited to suites and other premium locations in the stadium and did not allow for sales in the area of the general seating.
LSU was one of the leaders in pushing for a revision to the rule and had skirted around it by creating a beer garden called "The Chute," designating it a premium location, and did the same at Alex Box Stadium with "The Yard."
With the rule change, LSU can sell beer and wine in general seating areas but still cannot sell mixed drinks or hard liquor. Under the SEC's new policy:
- Alcoholic beverages are to be sold and dispensed only at designated stationary locations
- Alcoholic beverages may not be sold by vendors within the seating areas
- Identification check is required at every point of sale to prevent sales to minors
- Alcoholic beverage sales are limited to beer and wine only (no hard liquor or mixed drinks may be sold in public seating areas)
- Limits must be established on the number of drinks purchased at one time by an individual
- Alcohol must be dispensed into cups
- Safe server training and additional training for staff to handle high risk situations is required
There will be cutoffs as well for when schools must stop selling alcohol, and they are as followed:
- Football - end of third quarter
- Men's basketball - second half 12-minute TV timeout
- Women's basketball - end of third quarter
- Baseball - end of seventh inning
- Softball - end of the top of fifth inning
- Other sports not listed will stop serving alcohol when the game reaches 75 percent completion
“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 the press release. “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.”
The new policy will take effect on Aug. 1, and the conference now becomes the last Power Five conference to allow the sale of alcohol in general areas. Currently, at least 55 schools sell alcohol in general areas and four more will begin in the fall.
Editor’s note: This story was updated to reflect LSU’s decision to sell alcohol in Tiger Stadium on July 25.