The Phoenix Flyer

Will UF allow alcohol at college football games and other sporting events?

By: - August 7, 2019 3:04 pm

UF’s Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville. Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Should alcohol be allowed at more college football games?

Students 21 and older, parents and other fans are awaiting a decision at the University of Florida, which is in the Southeastern Conference (SEC).

That’s because on May 31, the SEC announced that schools in the conference could sell alcoholic beverages at athletic events, including at college football games. The policy went into effect Aug. 1, allowing alcohol for the general public  – not just fans in suites and boxes.

However, each SEC school can decide if it wants to pursue the new alcohol policy, and UF has not yet made a decision, said Steve Orlando, a UF spokesman.

There’s been discussion on the issue, Orlando said, but no decision yet. The university’s board of trustees is scheduled to meet in September, but it’s not clear if the board will take action then.

UF’s first football first game is August 24, but it will be played in Orlando rather than at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville.

Elsewhere, Florida State University spokeswoman Amy Farnum-Patronis said “FSU does not allow alcohol in the stands at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee. The suites and boxes are the exception.”

FSU is not in the SEC conference.

University of South Florida, also not in the SEC conference, does allow alcohol at college games played at Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium, which also hosts NFL games.

“We have had alcohol service in our football stadium and at all of our athletic venues for about two decades,” said USF spokesman Brian Siegrist.

Asked if there have been any problems with alcohol use at the USF games, Siegrist said, “We have not had any major issues that I am aware of in my six seasons here. My understanding is we really never had, and it has been a non-issue at our athletic venues.”

The SEC policy does have alcohol guidelines. For example, sales of alcoholic beverages in public seating areas will be limited to beer and wine – no hard liquor or mixed drinks.

Among other rules: An identification check will be required at “every point of sale to prevent sales to minors;” alcohol “must be dispensed into cups” and “limits must be established on the number of drinks purchased at one time by an individual.”

In addition, there will be designated stop times for sale or distribution of alcohol, including the end of third quarter of a football game.

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Diane Rado
Diane Rado

Diane Rado has covered state and local government and public schools in six states over some 30 years, focusing on policy and investigative stories as well as legislative and political reporting. She spent most of her career at the St. Petersburg (Tampa Bay) Times and the Chicago Tribune. She has a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and did a fellowship in education reform at the University of Michigan in 1999-2000. She is married to a journalist and has three adult children.