It would be “a tremendous challenge” for South Carolina to serve alcohol in general seating areas in Williams-Brice Stadium in time for the 2019 football season, but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen, athletics director Ray Tanner said Friday.
“At Williams-Brice there would be a lot of work to do to get into that position,” Tanner said Friday meeting with the university’s board of trustees. “I can’t tell you today what will happen going forward.”
The Southeastern Conference announced a change in policy earlier this month that will allow member schools to serve beer and wine in general seating areas for the first time if the schools choose to do so. The board of trustees will make the decision about whether South Carolina will take advantage of that opportunity, Tanner said.
The board was not scheduled to discuss the issue Friday.
“Whether it will be later this month or some other time, I’m not sure,” Tanner said. “Football season is closing in on us so that would be a tremendous challenge to get there. If the board says we are going to go there, that’s what we’re going to do. I would tell you that we would have a lot of work to do if that is the decision.”
South Carolina’s first home game is Sept. 7 against Charleston Southern, just over 90 days away.
Most of the work would be installing points of sale in the stadium, Tanner indicated. The SEC’s new rule allows only for physical sale points and no roaming vendors for alcohol. There are other questions to be answered as well, Tanner said.
“Is it going to be good for your seating bowl? How does it affect families? There are more questions than there are answers right now,” he said. “I’m in an information-gathering stage.”
The reaction Tanner has gotten from the team’s fans is “very mixed,” he said.
“It’s probably 50-50 with just the correspondence I get,” he said. “I think there is a place for it, but I think you have to find that sweet spot.”