Southeast now joins a growing number of institutions offering the sale of alcohol to spectators in general seating areas of collegiate athletic events, including the University of Missouri, Saint Louis University, Missouri State University, Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, Illinois State University, the University of Illinois and Jacksonville State University, among others.
Changes concerning the sale of alcohol at collegiate athletic events began in 2016 when the NCAA began selling beer and wine at the NCAA Baseball and Softball College World Series. This year, the Division I Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championships and other events were added. Alcohol also has been sold in the venues hosting the College Football Playoff games.
Southeast has piloted the sale of beer and wine at select home basketball games in a “Fast Break Lounge” at the Show Me Center the last two seasons. Patrons of legal age are required to stay within a designated area to purchase and consume the alcohol. A similar area, the Field Goal Club, is being piloted in the west end zone of Houck Field at home football games this season. This pilot program, conducted with special presidential approval and consistent with current business policy, has allowed the University to assess patron interest in adding limited alcohol availability as a fan experience and the ability of facility staff to manage the sale and control of the beverages at University-sponsored events, said Kathy Mangels, vice president for finance and administration. Today’s policy change is partly based on response to these events.
“Over the past two years, we have taken a thoughtful approach to piloting beverage sales at some of our athletics events and feel this is an option that will enhance the current fan experience,” said Brady Barke, Southeast director of athletics. “We remain committed to ensuring all of our fans have a safe and enjoyable experience and believe this approach will lead to more responsible consumption prior to and during our events.”
Alcohol sales will be managed by the Show Me Center management and will require a liquor license through the Southeast Missouri University Foundation or a contracted state-licensed vendor, Mangels said.
Alcoholic beverages already are sold at non-University events in the Show Me Center under the current business policy and in accord with city ordinances and state laws. Beer and wine also have been sold at select River Campus performances.
Risk management practices to be given future consideration include additional security at events, designated alcohol-free seating sections, limits on numbers of drinks sold per customer and cups for serving so bottles or cans do not become projectiles, Mangels said.
The revised policy and procedures also define parameters for tailgate functions at home football games involving the consumption of alcohol.