UT: We support vote to allow alcohol sales at SEC athletic events

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(WAFB/WVLT) -- The Southeastern Conference, university presidents, and chancellors voted on May 31 to lift the league’s policy against stadium-wide alcohol sales.

The SEC voted to allow alcohol sales at their sporting events. (WVLT)

The vote was taken on the final day of SEC Spring Meeting in Destin, Florida. The universities are now free to choose if they would or would not like to sell alcohol in stadiums.

The University of Tennessee issued an official statement about the move saying,

"The SEC has voted to allow alcohol sales at athletic events, with certain conditions, should a university choose to do so. UT supports the vote. We believe individual universities in the SEC should have the autonomy to make the decisions best for their campuses as it relates to selling alcohol at athletic events.

"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.

"UT is moving forward separately from this vote by the SEC to develop the policy and infrastructure to responsibly sell alcohol at non-athletic events, such as concerts, in accordance with state law."

According to Commissioner Greg Sankey, the new policy will go into effect August 1.

WVLT reached out to several schools that already serve alcohol during games.

The University of Oregon started selling alcohol throughout their stadium. Jimmy Stanton, Senior Associate Athletics Director says they cut their alcohol related fan ejections in half since starting to sell alcohol.

The University of Texas at Austin started selling alcohol in 2015. Since then "alcohol related arrests in and around the stadium have steadily gone done each year," John Bianco with the Texas Athletics Department said. In 2015 they had 24 arrests, in 2017 they had only 3.

The University of Colorado Boulder started a beer garden concept for the Fall 2014 season. Fans could drink there but, couldn't take it back to their seats.

"After four full seasons of this approach, fan feedback was positive and behavior problems were essentially nil," CU Spokesperson Ryan Huff said.

Fall of 2018 they started allowing fans to take drinks back their seats during the game.

"Throughout this time, we have had several safety protocols in place. They include identification checks at every sale, a limit of one beverage per customer and ceasing sales at the end of third quarter. Furthermore, vendors are fixed in the concourse areas and do not walk through the seating areas.

"We believe these safety protocols are part of the reason we have not noticed adverse behavioral issues compared to other recent years," Huff said. "In fact, our arrest/ticket numbers are basically flat from 2013 to 2018. We are pleased with the positive feedback we’ve received from our fans."

Middle Tennessee State University also serves alcohol during their games. Director of Athletics Chris Massaro they've had little to no problems because of sales.