USA: College Athletics Makes Alcohol More Available
Southeastern Conference (SEC) league presidents have decided to remove a decades-old ban on alcohol sales at athletic events.
The SEC is an American college athletic conference whose member institutions are located primarily in the Southern part of the United States. The SEC has had an alcohol ban in effect at least since 1978.
Already, alcohol infused football traditions are normalizing the use of alcohol among college students. The lifting of the ban will only make matters worse by making alcohol even more available.
At least 55 schools nationally already serve alcohol. The SEC presidents had been discussing the move since 2010. It took a majority (eight) of the league’s 14 presidents to jump on the beer wagon.
However, the policy does not require schools to sell alcoholic beverages, which will be limited to beer and wine, leaving the decision up to each institution.
Alabama has declared they will not be starting alcohol sale immediately. Auburn has stated any future discussions on alcohol sales would include fans, the board of trustees and other stakeholders.
The new policy on alcohol sale at SEC colleges requires,
- the establishment of designated stationary sales locations
- a restriction prohibiting sales by vendors in seating areas
- a limit on the number of alcoholic beverages purchased per transaction
- designated times that sales must cease specific to each athletics event
When starting the in-stadium alcohol trend in 2011 the claim was that making beer and wine available would curb binge alcohol use throughout game day. This is a flawed claim with no scientific backing. All evidence suggests increased availability inevitably leads to increased consumption.
This move comes against the backdrop of the country’s troubling statistics regarding alcohol use and related harm:
- 30% of road traffic fatalities are connected to alcohol use.
- An estimated 15 million people struggle with an alcohol disorder. Only 8% receive treatment for it.
- A 2016 study reported 65 million people had reported binge alcohol use in the last month.
As WholeHogSports reports, the biggest reason for lifting the ban on alcohol is the money, or in this case loss of potential resources. As the courts get closer and closer to declaring athletes should be paid when their images are used for promotions and sales, schools are going to search for more revenue.
Colleges should be prioritising student health and well-being not taking actions which can jeopardize that because of extra revenue.