You know, before you read this post, think about what traditions are left for the Southeastern Conference to hold near and dear to its collective old heart. This is, after all, the place where football teams can go over a decade before visiting some stadiums in the other division and the place where basketball schedules seem to be set almost on a whim.
So what is Greg Sankey feebly defending the honor of?
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.
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 no-brainer here would seem to be to let each conference program decide what’s best for itself with regard to beer sales, but that’s not how the SEC rolls.
So what’s stopping stadium-wide alcohol sales? Some member schools.
“We have some that would like to remove the policy and have others that have no interest in that,” Sankey said. “From a stadium wide (standpoint), there are those that think ‘Let’s just take the restraint off the conference level.’ But that’s not a unanimous or, I’m not sure right now, a majority position.”
The policy only can change through a majority vote of the 14 league presidents and chancellors…
Do I detect a faint whiff of the Georgia Way here? Why, I believe I do. Stadium booze is only for those who can hold their liquor; it’s a lucky coincidence that only those in the fancy seats are capable of that.
I still think at some point in time the dollars will rule. It’s too easy a revenue stream to ignore forever, but in the meantime, I guess it’s hard to put a price tag on feeling holier than thou.