Last year, R Street’s Marc Hyden called for the SEC to loosen its restrictions on allowing colleges in its conference to serve alcohol at football games. Hyden noted that other NCAA schools already allowed alcohol sales and that it only made sense for the SEC to follow suit:
There are many reasons [some] oppose permitting alcohol in the SEC’s stadiums, but none of them are good.
The most frequent justifications are promoting public safety and protecting the attendees’ general well-being. After all, we can’t have increased crime or fans getting sick and passing out. (University of Georgia fans probably wish they had slept through the title game, but I digress.)
While increased alcohol consumption can sometimes exacerbate tense situations, a 2016 study found no increased criminal activity when college stadiums serve alcohol to general attendees. There is reason to believe, however, that alcohol-related crime may even decrease in certain locales with alcohol sales when paired with other policies, as was the case at West Virginia University. Further, permitting general alcohol sales in collegiate arenas might actually offer a public health benefit.
(Read Hyden’s full piece here.)
This past week, according to Bleacher Report, the SEC finally heeded this call and announced that it will allow individual schools within the conference decide whether they want to serve alcohol at games:
SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey announced Friday the conference is set to lift its ban on stadiumwide alcohol sales Aug. 1.
"Schools will have autonomy," Sankey told reporters. "This now an opportunity for institutions to make responsible and appropriate decisions [about alcohol]."