Will the SEC follow the NCAA and abolish its prohibition on alcohol? It's not that 'easy,' says Greg Sankey – The Advocate

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — The NCAA this week is likely to abolish long-standing legislation outlawing alcohol sales at its championship events.

In the Southeastern Conference, meanwhile, prohibition reigns.

The NCAA Division I Council is set to vote on a proposal to eliminate a policy that has long kept booze out of championship events. The governing body for college athletics has used a waiver the past two years to sell alcohol at various championships, including the College World Series.

Southeastern Conference commissioner Greg Sankey

AP Photo by Brynn Anderson

Such a waiver would no longer be needed if the council approves the proposal at meetings Tuesday and Wednesday in Indianapolis, which is expected.

The potential decision only furthers the growing push from some SEC schools — LSU included — to lift the league’s ban on stadium-wide alcohol sales. Commissioner Greg Sankey on Monday insisted that it won’t be “easy” to overturn such a “decades-long tradition that’s been in place,” he said during a panel discussion at the APSE Southeast Region meeting at Samford University.

The NCAA’s decision is only a “data point,” he said, in the conversation and not a “determinative for our direction.”

The league’s direction, though, is swerving. Several unnamed member schools are blocking a path to overturn what many believe is an archaic policy. SEC bylaws restrict alcohol sales to private, controlled areas — in other words, premium seating.

But a gray area is emerging.

At least two SEC programs, Texas A&M and Auburn, opened this season a type of beer garden in their baseball stadiums, selling alcohol in sequestered areas removed from bleacher seating. LSU opened a football version of this in 2017 atop the south end zone, turning a 1,500-seat general admission area — with bleacher

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