Things are about to get rowdy at Arkansas football games. The school announced on Thursday that beer and wine will be available in general seating areas at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium in 2019. The school began selling alcohol in suites and private areas in 2014.
"By expanding our established alcoholic beverages program to include the sale of beer and wine in public areas of Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium, we are building on an already successful model while furthering the fan experience in a responsible way," athletic director Hunter Yurachek said. "Working in coordination with campus officials and within established guidelines adopted by the SEC, we will now be able to offer this game day amenity as an option to fans while working to further educate University of Arkansas students and the general public about safe and responsible consumption."
The school cited a decrease in alcohol-related incidents at other schools that allow beer and wine sales.
"We are implementing a number of corresponding initiatives aimed at preventing underage consumption and promoting responsible choices, including a 'We ID Program," and a designated driver and rideshare program," Yurachek said. "In many cases at other power 5 conference institutions, alcohol-related incidents at events have decreased following the introduction of a formal alcohol sales and educational program. As with other game day options, we realize individuals will ultimately make their own choices on whether to utilize these expanded opportunities. Our focus will be continuing to work with campus officials, UAPD, the SEC and others to ensure that fans of all ages can enjoy their game day experience."
Beer and wine will not be sold inside the designated student section, and students will not be allowed to leave the section and bring alcohol back in. A portion of the revenue generated will be donated to the University of Arkansas' Division of Student Affairs for alcohol related education and programming for university students.
"We have confidence in the many mechanisms being put in place to ensure that sales are limited to those 21 years or older as well as supporting responsible consumption for those who are allowed to purchase beer and wine," Dean of Students Melissa Harwood-Rom said. "We begin educating our students about the effects of alcohol and how to act or intervene in alcohol-related situations from the time they first arrive on campus, so the proceeds from sales designated to support our educational efforts will be put to good use."
The SEC voted to lift its ban on the sale of alcoholic beverages in areas outside of premium seating at SEC spring meetings in May. The new policy mandates that alcohol can be available only at designated stationary locations, which means that it can't be sold by vendors in seating areas. All fans will have to adhere to a fan code of conduct, and service will be cut off at the end of the third quarter.