Mizzou Athletics Announces Alcoholic Beverage Sales Policy

Beer & Wine To Be Sold In Public Areas of Memorial Stadium 

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Mizzou Athletics will partner with its concessionaire, Levy, to sell beer and wine within Memorial Stadium’s public areas during the 2019 football season in accordance with the Southeastern Conference’s newly adopted regulations, school officials announced Friday.

“Since the SEC staff established its working group to study this issue in 2018, our staff has been working with campus leadership, including MU Chief of Police Doug Schwandt, and our Wellness Center team, to develop a detailed and thoughtful alcoholic beverage sales plan for Mizzou in the event that the SEC position on this issue were to change,” said Mizzou Director of Athletics Jim Sterk. “Based on the experiences of other institutions, we expect Mizzou football fans will appreciate this new option. We also expect alcoholic beverage sales at Memorial Stadium will help reduce the incidents associated with binge drinking that can occur on game day. We consider that a win-win for our fans.

“As part of this move, fans can also expect an increase in game-day messaging and education with regard to responsible consumption and sober driving, as part of our partnership with the campus Wellness Center,” he added.

More than half of the P5 institutions currently sell beer and wine at their football games and of the 129 FBS- playing schools, approximately 65 are slated to sell alcoholic beverages in 2019. Schools selling alcoholic beverages in public spaces include LSU, Texas A&M, Texas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, TCU, Illinois, Purdue, Rutgers, Kansas, Colorado, Ohio State and West Virginia to name just a few. West Virginia was a pioneer in selling alcohol at collegiate sporting events, and reports that its number of in-stadium incidents continues to fall because of its availability on game day, and Ohio State saw total incidents drop to 61 in the first year of alcoholic beverage sales in 2016 compared to 175 in 2015 and 269 in 2014, according to media reports.

In 2016, the NCAA began selling beer and wine at the NCAA Baseball and Softball College World Series, and in 2019, added the Division I Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championships, as well as other events. The College Football Playoff games also have alcohol for sale within the venues that host those contests each year.

Following the SEC’s announcement of a change in policy that had been on the books since the early 1970s, the draft policy developed with the assistance of the MU Wellness Center and MUPD, was presented to, and discussed with, the Chancellor’s Staff and Deans’ Council, the executive committee of Faculty Council, Staff Council, campus student leaders and the Intercollegiate Athletics Committee; these discussions resulted in widespread support for the policy. In addition, the draft policy was reviewed by the UM System President’s office, as well as its Office of General Counsel and Office of Risk Management prior to approval.

Beginning with the Tigers’ Sept. 7 home-opener against West Virginia, beer and wine will be available for purchase by fans 21 and over in several locations around Faurot Field. In accordance with SEC policy, the sale of alcoholic beverages at football games will end at the end of the third quarter and fans with a valid ID will only be able to purchase two drinks per transaction at select concession stands. There will be no hawkers in the stadium bowl selling alcohol and all drinks will be poured into a cup when sold.

“The University of Missouri’s Police Department has worked closely with Mizzou Athletics on this issue,” said MUPD Chief Doug Schwandt. “We share a mutual commitment to maintaining a safe environment for fans, student-athletes and staff. Mizzou has a positive game-day atmosphere that we believe will continue under the new policy.”

Mizzou’s concessions partner, Levy, will have a training program for serving and selling alcoholic beverages that aligns with both the SEC policy and best practices nationally. All state and federal laws as well as University regulations will be complied with, and Levy will also put its employees through State of Missouri Alcohol Responsibility Training classes to help its staff in the following areas:

 

    • Recognize fake IDs and acceptable forms of identification
    • Prevent serving minors
    • Be aware of the typical signs of intoxication
    • Be prepared to handle disorderly, intoxicated customers

 

Two other features of Mizzou’s sales plan will include a designated driving program and the establishment of an alcohol free zone in the stadium. The designated driving program will provide free fountain drinks and other giveaways to fans who sign in at guest service booths throughout the stadium to serve as a sober driver for the day. No alcohol will be sold in the alcohol free zone and tickets for that area will indicate that no alcohol will be sold in that area.

 

Stadium personnel and law enforcement will monitor fan behavior, and ejection without refund, arrest, or refusal of sale or consumption of alcohol could result for reasons not limited to:

 

    • Unruly, disruptive or illegal behavior.
    • Giving alcoholic beverages to a minor.
    • Public intoxication or impairment.
    • Abusive or offensive language or gestures.
    • Throwing of any objects.
    • Failure to follow instructions given by stadium and/or law enforcement personnel.
    • Any other conduct deemed inappropriate by stadium personnel or law enforcement.

 

As has been the case for many years, fans attending Mizzou Football games are also encouraged to report any violation of the above policy or unruly behavior by notifying stadium or law enforcement personnel, or by texting MIZFAN to 90561 and following the prompts to report the issue.

 

“Our plan is one that emphasizes control, monitoring, education and employee training which will make Mizzou Football enjoyable for all fans,” Sterk said. “Stadium personnel and law enforcement will monitor fan behavior, and if need be, we will adjust this policy as the season unfolds to provide the best possible game-day experience when cheering on the Tigers at Faurot Field.”

 

 

Q&A on Alcohol Sales at Mizzou’s Memorial Stadium

 

Q:  Why is Mizzou Athletics allowing the sale of beer and wine at its football games?

 

A: This move is being made in response to feedback Mizzou Athletics has received from its fans. We believe this will be a positive addition to game day, however, we are approaching this from a mindset of both safety and responsibility. The sale of alcoholic beverages will end at the conclusion of the third quarter in football, as directed by SEC policy.

 

Mizzou Athletics is committed to providing a safe environment where all fans can have a great experience, and believe the policy we have established for the upcoming year will provide just that.

 

Q: Wasn’t there an SEC rule against the sale of alcohol in public areas at member institutions games?

 

A:  At the 2019 SEC Spring Meetings, conference Presidents and Chancellors voted to allow campuses the authority to make decisions relative to the sale of beer and wine in public areas at athletic events. As part of the policy that was approved, all beverages must be served in a cup and no more than two alcoholic beverages may be purchased per transaction. In addition, each transaction will require a valid ID.

 

Q:  How long did the SEC consider making changes to its alcohol policy?

 

A:  In the fall of 2018, the SEC formed a Working Group on SEC Policy Governing Alcohol Availability at Athletic Events. This group was chaired by Alabama President Stuart Bell, and included Missouri Senior Deputy AD Sarah Reesman, University of Florida Faculty Representative Michael Sagas, Arkansas Athletics Director Hunter Yurachek and Troy Lane, University of Tennessee Chief of Police.

 

This group met several times to review studies and information regarding experiences of other like institutions, the NCAA’s recent policy change to allow alcohol sales at championship events, and consider feedback from the constituencies represented by the working group as well as health and wellness professionals. The group then provided three options to the Presidents and Chancellors through President Bell and the SEC staff.

 

Q:  With this change in policy, can fans bring their own alcohol into the stadium this year?

 

A:  No. The possession or consumption of alcohol not sold within Memorial Stadium is strictly prohibited.

 

Q:  How many concession stands will have beer and wine available for purchase at Memorial Stadium?

 

A:  Well over half of the fixed point of sale concession stands within Memorial Stadium WILL NOT offer alcoholic beverages for purchase this fall. In addition to fixed points of sale, portable stands will be utilized throughout the concourse to help fans quickly purchase water, soda and light snacks while reducing wait times. Alcoholic beverages will only be served to fans in cups, no cans or bottles will be sold.

 

Clearly marked locations will be available throughout the stadium that service alcohol, non-alcoholic beverages and food.

 

Concession stands nearest student seating areas will not sell beer and wine.

Q:  I want my family to enjoy Mizzou Athletics events without alcohol sales in my seating area. Will alcohol free zones be available within the stadium?

 

A:  Yes, an alcohol free zone will be established in the stadium. Guests may request tickets in the designated area where alcohol will not be allowed in the seats. All tickets for seating in the alcohol free zone will contain language indicating that no alcohol will be allowed in the seating area.

Q:  Will Levy employees undergo training before working in concession stands that sell alcohol?

 

A:  Yes. Levy, Mizzou Athletics’ concessions contractor, will have a training program for serving and selling alcoholic beverages that aligns with both the SEC policy and best practices nationally. All state and federal laws as well as University regulations will be complied with, and valid IDs will be needed for service. Levy employees will undergo State of Missouri Alcohol Responsibility Training which is intended to help staff:

 

    • Recognize fake IDs and acceptable forms of identification.
    • Prevent serving minors.
    • Be aware of the typical signs of intoxication.
    • Be prepared to handle disorderly, intoxicated customers.

 

Q:  Where will the proceeds from the sale of alcoholic beverages go?

 

A:  Monies generated from the sale of alcoholic beverages will go toward equipment and infrastructure investments to enhance food and beverage service throughout Memorial Stadium. Funds will also be used to repair and replace systems to improve response times and communications between athletics staff and first responders at all athletic events and general security improvements. A portion of the proceeds will also go toward campus substance abuse research and preventative programming.

 

Q:  Are there plans in place to offer a sober driving program?

 

A:  Yes, Mizzou Athletics will have a sober driving program in place for guests to check in at guest services stands located throughout the stadium. A free fountain drink and other giveaways will be available for guests who sign in and register to serve as a sober driver for the day.

 

Q:  How will Mizzou Athletics handle unruly fans this fall at Memorial Stadium?

 

A:  Stadium personnel and law enforcement will monitor fan behavior and ejection without refund, arrest or refusal of sale or consumption of alcohol could result for reasons including, but not limited to, the following:

 

  • Giving alcoholic beverages to a minor.
  • Public intoxication or impairment.
  • Throwing of any objects.
  • Failure to follow stadium and/or law enforcement personnel instruction.
  • Any other conduct deemed inappropriate by stadium personnel or law enforcement.

 

As has been the case for many years, fans are also encouraged to report any violation of this policy or any unruly behavior by notifying stadium or law enforcement personnel, or by texting MIZFAN to 90561 and follow the prompts to report the issue.

 

Q:  Does Mizzou Athletics plan to expand alcohol sales to other venues in 2019-20?

 

A:  Mizzou Athletics will monitor alcoholic beverage sale at Memorial Stadium this fall, and will announce plans for sales in other venues after analyzing feedback received from its stakeholders.

 

Q:  Will Mizzou Athletics and the SEC monitor alcohol sales plans?

 

A: Mizzou will adjust its sales plan during the season as necessary to provide the best possible experience for all fans. ICA staff, working with campus leadership, will also review the alcohol policies on an annual basis to ensure that best practices are being followed and the sales plan is effective.

 

In addition, the SEC membership shall review this policy annually to determine institutional compliance with established expectations and evaluate fan conduct and alcohol-related incidents for the purpose of determining the need to revise the Conference’s alcohol policy.

 

SEC Game Management Policy on Alcohol (adopted May 31, 2019; effective August 1, 2019):

 

Each institution is permitted to determine the permissibility of selling alcoholic beverages in athletics venues and shall establish a policy governing the sale and distribution of alcoholic beverages in its athletics facilities.

 

Institutions that offer alcohol sales in public areas must incorporate Conference-wide alcohol management expectations, which include:

 

  • Alcoholic beverages are to be sold and dispensed only at designated stationary locations;
  • Alcoholic beverages may not be sold by vendors within the seating areas;
  • Identification check is required at every point of sale to prevent sales to minors;
  • Alcoholic beverage sales are limited to beer and wine only (no hard liquor or mixed drinks may be sold in public seating areas);
  • Limits must be established on the number of drinks purchased at one time by an individual;
  • Alcohol must be dispensed into cups;
  • Safe server training and additional training for staff to handle high risk situations is required; and
  • Designated stop times for sale and/or distribution of alcohol must be enforced as follows:
  • Football (end of 3rd quarter);
  • Basketball (Men’s—Second half 12-minute TV timeout; Women’s—End of 3rd quarter);
  • Baseball (end of the top of 7th inning);
  • Softball (end of the top of the 5th inning); and
  • Other Sports (At a designated time, no later than when 75% of the event’s regulation length competition is scheduled to be completed).

Each year, the Conference membership shall review this policy to determine institutional compliance with established expectations and evaluate fan conduct and alcohol-related incidents for the purpose of determining the need to revise the Conference’s alcohol policy.

 

Implementation of these management expectations does not include suites, clubs or private leased areas.

 

Each institution shall establish a policy for the admission of outside food and beverage into its facilities.

 

As with all areas of the stadium, maintaining the safety of patrons and participants and maintaining an atmosphere suitable for families is of utmost importance.

 

Advertising displays mentioning or promoting alcoholic beverage shall not be permitted in any playing facility with the exception of common point-of-sale signage.