UT 'moving forward' to develop policy on alcohol sales

The Southeastern Conference announced it will allow alcohol sales in stadiums./ Source: WVLT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- The Knoxville Beer Board voted to approve alcohol sales for the Thompson-Boling Arena and Neyland, with a few additions.

At Knoxville’s July Beer Board meeting, members heard a presentation from Aramark Sports and Entertainment Services, LLC that could allow alcohol sales to happen at certain campus facilities during sporting and non-sporting events.

The University of Tennessee issued a statement after the permit's passing.

"We appreciate the opportunity for Aramark, as UT's vendor, to provide additional information as part of the Beer Board licensing process. Aramark receiving the license (pending additional documentation is provided) is one step in a larger process for the university. UT is moving forward to develop the policy and infrastructure to responsibly sell alcohol in accordance with all applicable laws."

According to the statement, Chancellor Plowman has "appointed a working group to review what it would take" to move forward with the policy.

The plan includes alcohol services at Neyland Stadium, Thompson-Boling Arena and Regal Stadium, according to the Knoxville Beer Board’s agenda packet.

The board voted in favor of the permit if Aramark fulfills other requirements:

- signage needed for penalties for underaged drinking or giving underage people alcohol drinks

- plan for staffing at exits to ensure alcohol is disposed of after games

- training for identifying intoxicated persons

The board was originally scheduled to vote on Aramark’s proposal in June, but the board asked Aramark for more information concerning alcohol distribution.

According to the beer board agenda, Aramark currently manages alcohol sales at venues for thirteen NFL, five NBA, eleven MLB, seven NHL and eighteen college teams.

In May, the Southeastern Conference (SEC), university presidents and chancellors voted to lift the league’s policy against stadium-wide alcohol sales. The vote gave each school the option to pursue alcohol sales at campus if they so choose.

Days after the SEC vote, the University of Tennessee said they supported the SEC vote, but would have to decide if they would participate in alcohol sales.

"UT is evaluating the best course of action for our campus, including reviewing necessary procedures and processes, to determine if and when we would initiate the sale of alcoholic beverages at athletic events," according to a statement.

In June
, George Wallace, Board Chairman for the Knoxville Beer Board, told WVLT that if the plan is approved, it can go into effect immediately the following day.

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee signed a bill back in early April allowing the sale of alcohol in facilities in public universities across the state.

ENSURING SAFETY

According to the beer board’s agenda packet, Aramark has several plans they believe would help them manage alcohol sales. While some ideas are standard for venues that sell alcohol, such as validating identification, proper training for servers and non-sale to visibly intoxicated persons, other restrictions, such as deadlines for sale of alcohol during sporting events or concerts, will be proposed.

Below is a list of cut-off times for sporting events/concerts based on Aramark’s policy for other venues:

Football
Sale ends at the end of the 3rd quarter
Men’s Basketball
Sale ends at the 12-minute mark of the second half
Women’s Basketball
Sale ends at the end of the 3rd quarter
Other sports
Sale ends no later than when 75 percent of the event’s regulation length is scheduled to be completed
Concerts/Special Events
Sale ends at a reasonable time prior to the anticipated end of the act as determined in consultation with the act and venue management

Aramark also proposed signage as part of the plan. The signage would address:

Legal drinking age
Identification requirement
Units sold per transaction (no more than 2 per customer)
ABC liquor license
City/County beer permit
ABC Pregnancy Warning
Alcohol Sales cutoff

Aramark will also propose hiring Alcohol Compliance Supervisors, whose sole job is to ensure servers comply with both company rules and local laws.

An enforcement plan is also listed. Aramark said minors found to be consuming alcohol or patrons who give alcohol to minors will be ejected and could be subject to criminal punishment. Alcohol will not be sold near student section seating, and certain staff will be employed to solely monitor the student section. In-stadium cameras will also be used to monitor crowd behavior.

Safety measures will also be implemented to help those who drink alcohol, such as a designated place for rideshare services to pick-up and drop-off patrons, in-venue messaging, a fan text message system where fans can notify officials of an issue and a designated driver program.

DIFFERENT CUPS

As part of their plan, Aramark also plans to display examples of what cups with alcohol will look like. Aramark plans to put alcohol in a clear, plastic cup, with a “TENN” logo on the side. Cups for other beverages have designs on the side and are opaque.

ALCOHOL SALE LOCATION

Alcohol sales can only happen at concession areas designated in Aramark’s plan. Alcohol sales can only happen inside of venues. Outside vendors would not be allowed to make sales on campus property.

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