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Southeastern Conference amends alcohol policy for sporting events

Good news for Ole Miss fans who want a cold one or two inside Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in 2019: the Southeastern Conference amended its alcohol policy on Friday at the SEC winter meetings.

Prior bans on alcohol sold at SEC events are no more. This doesn’t necessarily mean the university will immediately begin selling alcohol this upcoming year, but they are now free to do so if they so choose.

Under the revised alcohol policy, each school in the SEC now has the autonomy to choose for themselves whether or not they will sell alcohol at sporting events. The new policy kicks into effect starting with the 2019-20 school year sports, so the possibility of beer and other alcoholic beverages being sold by the start of Ole Miss football season is very much in play.

“Our policy governing alcohol sales has been a source of considerable discussion and respectful debate among our member universities in recent years,” said SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey 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. We remain the only conference to set forth league-wide standards for the responsible management of the sale of alcoholic beverages.”

Alcoholic beverage sales will be limited just to beer and wine, and each school gets to determine what they will sell. It’s not the first conference to do this. Bans have been lifted for a few years in the Pac12 and Big12. Schools like Arizona State and the University of Texas have had sanctioned off parts of stadiums, similar to a beer garden, where they restrict alcoholic beverage sale and consumption to certain parts of an arena or stadium.

Ole Miss hasn’t made any statements on the matter, but expect it to be one of the one of the top topics of conversation when the school hires a new athletic director. There’s big revenue in the decision to do so – Texas reported over $3-million in revenue from just beer sales at football games in 2017 alone.