Hannah Wade / The Daily Gamecock

SEC changes alcohol policy for athletic events

In years past, alcohol was difficult to find inside both South Carolina's stadium and SEC sporting events.

However, this has now changed after a vote at the SEC spring meetings.

Today, the SEC announced revisions to the conference’s alcohol policy at athletic events for all 14 members. The new policy states each school has the autonomy to determine if alcohol can be served in common areas at athletic venues. In the past, alcohol was only permitted in premium seating areas.

University of South Carolina President Harris Pastides, who is also the chair of the SEC Presidents and Chancellors, was involved in the policy change. 

“This policy is intended to enhance the game-day experience at SEC athletics events by providing our schools the autonomy to make appropriate decisions for their respective campuses while also establishing expectations for responsible management of the sale and distribution of alcoholic beverages,” Pastides said in a press release. 

Despite this new rule, there are still some limitations.

Only beer and wine will be available in the designated sale locations; liquor will only be available in the premium seating area. All patrons will be required to provide identification, as no fan under the age of 21 will be permitted to buy alcohol, and there will be limits on how many drinks may be purchased at one time.

While alcohol sales are permitted league wide, it is still up to each individual school to determine if it will begin to sell alcohol.

If permitted at the University of South Carolina, the SEC requires alcohol sales stop at the end of the third quarter for football games, at the second half 12-minute TV timeout in men’s basketball, at the end of the third quarter for women’s basketball, at the top of the seventh inning in baseball and at the top of the fifth inning in softball. For all other sports, sales will end no later than when 75% of the game or match is complete.

Athletics director Ray Tanner said in a statement on Friday that the school will need to discuss the best possible options before moving forward with alcohol sales. 

"While we have discussed this inside the athletics department, now that the ban has been rescinded, we need fully to vet the impact for us with our campus leadership, including the President and the Board of Trustees, as well as campus, local and state agencies. We value the customer experience in all of athletic venues and will not do anything to negatively impact that," Tanner said.

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