COLUMBIA — South Carolina will not change its alcohol policy in general areas of Williams-Brice Stadium this season, athletics director Ray Tanner said Tuesday.
“We’re not there yet. Logistically, a lot of things have to happen,” Tanner said during a radio interview. “There’s a lot of work to be done. Probably seven of the 14 schools in the SEC are in the same spot that we’re in right now.”
Since the SEC rescinded its long-standing ban on selling alcohol in general areas of its stadiums in late May, each of the league’s institutions have been weighing the issue. Texas A&M has said it will take advantage of the rule change and offer beer and wine for sale to the general public this fall.
Georgia, Alabama and Auburn have said they will not, and other schools continue to study the issue. USC also examined it and determined adding beer and wine sales at Williams-Brice Stadium was going to cause more problems than it solves.
Tanner left open the possibility of changing the policy for basketball games at Colonial Life Arena or baseball games at Founders Park, but the football policy will not change. It could in the future as USC revisits the situation, especially with major renovations scheduled to be completed for the 2020 season.
“Is money a factor? Sure it is. Is it an opportunity to make a lot of money? We don’t know that for sure,” Tanner said, mentioning the need for more security, vendors and a change in the current business model. “We don’t have a lot of answers yet but we’ll get them going forward.
“Even if it was a unanimous decision that we need to start selling alcohol immediately, we’re not prepared. We would have a lot of work to do.”
Tanner said in June that getting Williams-Brice ready for the Sept. 7 home opener would be difficult. The current concessions setups have long drawn complaints, particularly under the North end zone.
It’s simply not feasible to add more kiosks and points of sale for beer and wine, further congesting an already crowded area. While patrons who have seats in private club areas will have access to alcohol as they always have, the general public will not.
“People don’t want to stand in lines very long. They want to be able to not miss any action,” Tanner said. “You got to try to be 100 percent when you talk about the fan experience. You want to be good all the time.”