University of Georgia football fans have not been able to consume alcohol openly in Sanford Stadium unless they were one of the lucky few who had seats in a skybox or private suite. Beginning next year, however, Bulldogs supporters may be able to buy alcohol inside the stadium.
Late last month, the chancellors and presidents of the Southeastern Conference (SEC) overturned the ban on alcohol sales within athletic facilities. They voted to allow universities to establish their own individual alcohol policies, although only beer and wine can be sold. The new policy will be effective Aug. 1.
What this will mean for the University of Georgia is yet to be determined. Athletic Director Greg McGarity said that he and the university’s president, Jere Morehead will be “carefully reviewing both internally and externally all the facets of the new policy and make appropriate decisions that are in the best interest of the University of Georgia.”
Morehead said that the safety of students and the public are their main concerns. He said that “my sense, from talking to other Presidents, is that most institutions will move very slowly and thoughtfully in making any changes due to our collective desire to maintain a family friendly atmosphere and guard against underage drinking.”
Shortly before the new SEC policy was made public, UGA announced that it would cordon off a large hospitality area where wine and beer can be purchased. However, it would be accessible only for members of the Magill Society who have made a pledge of at least $100,000. McGarity explained, “We’ve had a significant increase in the Magill Society. We always look for ways to enhance their experience in the game.”
Of course, if alcohol is made more widely available at UGA games, the likelihood of drunk driving accidents and arrests is likely to increase. It’s likely that law enforcement officers will be patrolling the streets around the stadium.
By using services like Uber and Lyft or other shared ride services, fans can enjoy a few drinks and still get home safely. Even if you avoid an accident, a DUI can have serious consequences for the remainder of your college education and for your future.