It was recently announced that schools in the Southeastern Conference can now determine whether or not they sell alcohol inside football stadiums this fall.
Being a recent college graduate and former low-level athlete, I have some takes.
Now, as with everything, there are some stipulations and you won’t be seeing any vendors getting a workout in or will you see any mixed-drink stations around the general seating areas. Beer and wine will be the only beverages of choice on the concourse and I’m going to be honest, I think it’s a great idea.
The big takeaway for me is that drinking is no secret around college campuses when the weekend hits across the country, but at football schools that reside in conferences like the SEC, Saturday’s are a whole different beast.
You see the videos of student viewers “taking naps” with a stack of cups being formed on their heads with 10 a.m. kickoffs meaning the drinking starts even earlier in the morning. Of course, that is not the case across the board as it was likely hard to find anyone sleeping any more than a wink in the seven-overtime thriller at Kyle Field between Texas A&M and LSU but for the most part, those who wish to partake in the alcohol will figure out a way to do so.
That’s the other thing where I’m sure pockets were emptied and waistbands didn’t serve ulterior motives to sneak in the stuff they had been denied so at least at this point, the schools can make money off of those choices.
Of course, some of those making that decision are further removed from the undergraduate days and now return to their school with classmates or families and want to enjoy a cold beer (or glass of wine) while watching the game as normally is the case in the confines of your own home.
That used to be the only opportunity to bring those two things together, outside of renting a private suite at the stadium of your choice, but the SEC had been the last Power Five conference to lift the ban on alcohol sales in stadiums so there is only catching up to do.
The ruling will go into effect Aug. 1, plenty of time before the start of the college football season that sits just under 70 days away, but it’s still up to the specific members whether or not they want to lift the ban and allow sales or keep it prohibited from the stadium, which as previously mentioned, likely isn’t going to do much to actually keep alcohol out.
I got the opportunity to talk with a now-former Texas A&M athlete originally hailing from Bellville and if you haven’t already read last week’s story about decathlete Nathan Hite, then I strongly suggest you do.
After the real conversation we had for the story, I wanted to pick his brain on his thoughts not only as an SEC athlete but as a fan of an SEC football team and he agreed from first-hand experience that alcohol routinely finds its way through the gates so there’s no real reason not to lift the ban and bring in some cash on top of it.
“I think it’s a little naïve to think it’s not already happening, so I really think they’re just trying to capitalize on it,” he said of alcohol consumptions in SEC stadiums.
Of course, I am not condoning driving yourself into one of those naps from drinking too much but I feel like this sort of decision is a little behind the curve because it seems like such a viable source of income on top of stadium revenue which must be astronomical.
As is the case with most things, though, there will likely be some ebb and flow until the best practices can really be nailed down on how to go about this thing but once that happy medium is found, I think these schools will wish they had done this sooner.