ATHENS — The University of Georgia announced on Tuesday that it will not sell alcohol in general seating areas at its athletic venues in the 2019-2020 academic year.
“After consideration of the many facets involved with the Southeastern Conference’s revised alcohol policy, the Athletic Association has made the decision to maintain, at this time, the current UGA policy which prohibits the sale of alcoholic beverages in non-premium seating areas of our athletics facilities,” UGA athletic director Greg McGarity said in a school release.
“However, we will conduct an annual review of this policy to determine if any modifications may be needed in the future.”
UGA president Jere Morehead tipped the school’s hand the day before the SEC held a historic vote that enabled schools to set their own stadium alcohol policies.
“We’re still talking about the issue, we’re taking it in,” Morehead told DawgNation on May 30 at the SEC Spring Meetings in Destin.
“But you know, I think we’ve got it right at UGA, so I don’t see us making any significant changes.”
McGarity told DawgNation on Tuesday there is no update or change to the policy in place at the annual Georgia-Florida game in Jacksonville, Fla.
The schools would have to agree to change the current policy, which also prohibits alcohol sales in general seating areas.
Alabama, Auburn and Mississippi State are the other SEC schools that have already said they will not sell alcohol in general seating areas this football season.
The schools that opt to sell alcohol in general seating will do so under conference guidelines.
SEC commissioner Greg Sankey pointed out the priority the SEC places on protecting its game day environment.
Georgia’s Sanford Stadium ranks among the best in the nation in that respect, among the cleanest and most family friendly.
“Part of the reluctance (for selling alcohol in general seating) is the venue atmosphere,” Sankey said at the SEC Spring Meetings.
“The atmosphere is for families to go and build that experience, to share with three or four generations within a stadium a common experience, that’s a hallmark of who we are.”
Alcohol has long been allowed in the suites and premium seating areas, and UGA recently announced the addition of a 400-seat area on the club level where high-level donors would be allowed to purchase alcohol.
For the schools that move forward and sell alcohol in general seating areas under a new SEC policy that takes effect Aug. 1, the following guidelines were set by the league office at the SEC Spring Meetings:
- Alcoholic beverages are to be sold and dispensed only at designated stationary locations;
- Alcoholic beverages may not be sold by vendors within the seating areas;
- Identification check is required at every point of sale to prevent sales to minors;
- Alcoholic beverage sales are limited to beer and wine only (no hard liquor or mixed drinks may be sold in public seating areas);
- Limits must be established on the number of drinks purchased at one time by an individual;
- Alcohol must be dispensed into cups;
- Safe server training and additional training for staff to handle high risk situations is required; and
- Designated stop times for sale and/or distribution of alcohol must be enforced as follows:
• Football (end of 3rd quarter);
• Basketball (Men’s—Second half 12-minute TV timeout; Women’s—End of 3rd quarter);
• Baseball (end of the top of 7th inning);
• Softball (end of the top of the 5th inning); and
• Other Sports (At a designated time, no later than when 75% of the event’s regulation length competition is scheduled to be completed).
DawgNation at SEC Spring Meetings