The next time you go to a football game in SEC country, you may be able to do so while responsibly enjoying an alcoholic beverage of choice, but only if that game is being played off campus.
According to a report by Jon Solomon on Al.com, the SEC is prepared to review the alcohol policy for any neutral site game or home game played off campus. Selling alcohol on campus appears to be off the table for now. LSU athletics director Joe Alleva seems to support the idea, saying it would “enhance the fan experience.” Concerns of fans getting a little carried away inside the stadium with the booze is always a concern, especially when a significant percentage of the fans re college students, but Alleva sees some of the benefits and believes it merits further discussion within the conference.
“I don’t think that’s something that would necessarily be a negative for drunkenness and it might curtail the drunkenness if you sold beer,” Alleva told Al.com. “Right now, they drink excessively in the parking lot before they come in because they can’t get alcohol inside. Perhaps if they had access in the stadium, they wouldn’t drink as much when they come in. I think it’s something we have to talk about. This may come down the road in the future, and I wouldn’t be opposed to it.”
The SEC has two neutral site games within the conference in 2014 with Georgia and Florida’s annual rivalry game in Jacksonville, which coincidentally has tried to step away from The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party nickname in recent years, and the Texas A&M and Arkansas game played in Cowboys Stadium. Arkansas also plays some off-campus home games in Little Rock that would qualify under the alcohol policy.
Some schools already sell beer and alcohol to those seated in the luxury boxes. Arkansas recently expressed interest in selling beer and wine in their boxes, and more and more schools appear to be showing some sort of interest in at least exploring the possibility. Minnesota is looking to extend their liquor licence to continue selling alcohol in their football stadium, and West Virginia has shown some positive results since introducing beer sales in their stadium.
If the SEC opened the sale of alcoholic beverages to more fans, the ultimate decision would still be based on a school-by-school basis.
Another day, another FBS player has transitioned away from his first college football home.
On his personal Twitter account recently, Drew O’Bryan acknowledged his decision to transfer from Western Kentucky. Additionally, he announced his next destination for good measure — Eastern Kentucky.
The linebacker said he made the decision “[a]fter talking with my family and many prayers.”
As EKU plays at the Football Championship Subdivision level, O’Bryan will be eligible to play immediately for the Colonels in 2017.
O’Bryan was a two-star member of WKU’s 2016 recruiting class, rated as the No. 18 player at any position in the state of Kentucky. He took a redshirt as a true freshman.
Alabama’s spring game wrapped up on Saturday and with it, the last of the Crimson Tide’s spring practices. While that means the coaching staff is free to fly across the country to visit recruits during the evaluation period, it also results in several players going under the knife to correct injuries in order to be back by fall camp.
Two of those players are starting cornerback Anthony Averett and (likely starting) linebacker Christian Miller, both of whom underwent sports hernia surgery this week according to AL.com.
The report states that Averett played with the hernia most of last season while the Tide marched their way to the national title game. Miller was one of the stars of the show on Saturday during Alabama’s spring game, recording two sacks while dealing with the injury.
Both are expected to be fully healthy for camp in August as Nick Saban and company vie for yet another conference title and berth in the College Football Playoff.
The prohibition of alcohol at football stadiums has undergone one interesting about-face in college athletics the past 15 years or so. While various suite levels at stadiums across the country have generally had access to a few adult beverages, there’s been some very large programs that have opened up the taps in the general seating areas the last few years.
From West Virginia to Texas to Ohio State, more and more programs are selling beer and/or liquor across the board and raking in hundreds of thousands (if not millions) in added revenue while doing so. One conference that isn’t jumping in on that trend however has been the SEC, which has numerous restrictions on where those types of beverages can be sold. That may be about to change in the near future however according to SEC commissioner Greg Sankey.
“At some point, I’m relatively certain, there will be further review of the prohibition,” said Sankey on Monday, per The Tuscaloosa News. “That doesn’t predict any outcome.”
While you may think that the league is close to opening the floodgates on alcohol being served at stadiums across the conference, you probably shouldn’t jump to any conclusions on the matter as Sankey seemed to hold his ground and stand firm on keeping things as is right now.
“The conference has a policy that says that we’re not selling alcohol in the general seating area,” he added. “Now, you can agree or disagree with that policy, but that’s the policy. The basis for changing that or maintaining it is one that’s developed in the conversation.
“I think we were at like 98 percent ticket sales in football… So is that one-percent margin a trade that we’re going to make?”
It’s no secret that of-age fans can easily find a few beverages at SEC tailgates prior to games nowadays but it seems momentum is slowing building in the conference to allow fans to buy some during a game. It might not happen anytime in the very near future but the conversation is certainly going to keep popping up each year with many more schools across the country jumping in on this trend.
While we don’t yet know where former Notre Dame quarterback Malik Zaire is transferring to, we might have an idea of when he plans on making a move this offseason.
Per Orangebloods.com’s Anwar Richardson, the signal-caller has zeroed in on the end of May for an announcement on his new school in a timetable that coincides with the Irish’s graduation ceremonies. Perhaps just as interesting is the fact that there may also be a new school in the mix and it’s known for being a powerhouse of a different kind away from the gridiron.
“In addition, I was told a new school is in the mix. Zaire is still considering Texas, Wisconsin and Florida, and the grad transfer quarterback has added Harvard to his short list. It remains unclear how serious Zaire is about playing Ivy League football. If he does go that route, Harvard would be his landing spot.”
The Ivy League power is an interesting new destination for Zaire and could be a pretty good backup option given what’s going on at his other finalists.
While Texas and Wisconsin are both on his shortlist, both the Longhorns and Badgers return their starting quarterbacks from last season in Shane Buechele and Alex Hornibrook. Richardson reports that Zaire wants to start in 2017 and not hold a clipboard but he is still keeping his options opens when it comes to the thin depth charts at the position in both Austin and Madison.
Complicating things is Florida, which should be a prime landing spot for Zaire were it not for an SEC rule passed last year that is preventing him from transferring him there this offseason. The league is set to talk about changes to that rule at their spring meetings in Destin, Fla. but it remains unclear if the QB will wait and see before making a decision (and it’s entirely possible the SEC keeps things as they are).
Either way, the former Irish starter does not appear to be lacking options when it comes to the graduate transfer market.