All sport-related events in the 2019–20 year at the University of Kentucky are going to be alcohol-free. This decision to stop selling alcohol was primarily left to individual schools to decide on. The end result is a ban on alcohol sales in most secondary schools. It includes Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, and Mississippi. The not-selling-alcohol rule is applied to general sitting areas. Audience in luxury seating areas will still have the opportunity to buy alcohol.
The policy is valid from Thursday and will last through 2020. The main reason for this decision is the nature of sports events; it should be a family-friendly occasion, and the safety of students and spectators is of the highest priority. The focus should be on athletes and the games although it’s a challenge to please everybody.
Some stadiums are requiring renovations in order to create the luxury sitting area; people who pay for access will be able to buy alcoholic beverages. When it comes to public areas, the SEC policy states that schools are free to sell wine and beer but only in stationary locations. Additionally, the authorities will try to control alcohol sales by setting the limits on sold drinks per individual. Another novelty is reducing the sales by some point in the game.
When it comes to profits, there was no correlation between alcohol and ticket sales. The director of U.K. Athletics, Mitch Barnhart, when asked about selling alcohol in premium areas, while it was restricted to public areas, focused on security. Specifically, he talked about how the premium area is more confined, therefore easier to control and to maintain the level of security. However, public areas, as with any larger crowds, bring a level of risk regarding the number of people combined with alcohol.
There was a lot of backlash to this new policy, especially on social media. Some had the impression that the U.K. Athletics director was hypocritical and only wanted to sell alcohol to those who had the money.
After all, Barnhart is yet to see the overall results and is leaving the door open. A lot of factors must be taken into consideration, such as the budget, the programs, and other issues in college athletics.