The Southeastern Conference’s presidents voted Friday to lift a ban against selling alcoholic beverages at its stadiums and arenas during athletic events, ESPN reported.
The vote, taken at the conference’s annual spring meeting, means beer and wine sales will be allowed in general seating areas of public venues beginning Aug. 1, CBS Sports reported. The ban on the sale of alcoholic drinks had been in place for more than 30 years, with the only exception being in premium seating areas such as luxury boxes, according to ESPN.
The policy does not require the schools to sell the drinks, but it is now an option, the sports network reported.
"Our policy governing alcohol sales has been a source of considerable discussion and respectful debate among our member universities in recent years," SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said 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."
All alcohol sales will end at the end of the third quarter in football games, the second 12-minute television timeout during men’s basketball games, the top of the seventh inning in baseball games and the top of the fifth inning in softball games, the Montgomery Advertiser reported.
Despite the vote, University of Alabama officials said in a statement they do not expect to begin selling the alcoholic drinks in August, ESPN reported.
"This new policy allows each campus to decide what is right for them. These guidelines will be helpful as we move forward and have future conversations," the university's statement said. "We have one of the best game-day atmospheres in the country, and we don't envision making changes at this time."
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