DESTIN, Fla. — The first day of the Southeastern Conference Spring Meetings on Tuesday always ends with a big beachside reception at the Sandestin Hilton.
Open bar, of course.
Will the SEC finally open the bar stadium-wide at its sporting venues? That is expected to be one of the major topics for discussion for this year’s meetings, which run through Friday.
New LSU athletic director Scott Woodward, the only athletic director serving on the SEC’s Executive Committee, is optimistic that discussion will this week that will eventually lead to the repeal of the league’s quasi-prohibition rule.
“I think we’re going to see some things that really benefit LSU, such as the liberalization of alcohol sales,” Woodward said recently. “I feel good about it.”
A cold beer anywhere in Tiger Stadium could be closer than ever.
Currently, alcohol and beer sales are prohibited in general seating areas of SEC venues but allowed in premium seating areas. The SEC is the only Power Five conference with such a rule, but according to a recent Sports Illustrated article there is growing support for change.
Woodward also expressed hope that there will be discussion about changing the SEC’s football scheduling format, though nothing substantive is expected. LSU has lobbied for years to do away with permanent cross-divisional opponents to no avail.
The SEC Spring Meetings also will be notable for what LSU basketball coach Will Wade does — or doesn’t — say.
Wade has not spoken to the media since he was suspended in March after reports surfaced that he was caught on FBI wiretaps discussing potentially improper recruiting inducements with convicted felon Christian Dawkins. At a subsequent trial for Dawkins, further testimony came forward alleging that Wade gave $300,000 to former Tiger Naz Reid to attend LSU, an allegation Reid has publicly denied.
Wade was reinstated in April.
In addition to SEC school CEOs and athletic directors, all of the conference’s football and basketball coaches are required to attend the Spring Meetings. Most coaches and ADs make themselves available informally to speak to reporters, though it is not required. LSU officials have not confirmed whether Wade will speak in Destin, nor was he expected to talk to reporters before leaving Baton Rouge.
Also at the meetings, LSU’s Gabriela Gonzales, a professor of physics and astronomy, will be honored as the 2019 SEC Professor of the Year. LSU chemistry professor Isiah Warner was the 2016 SEC Professor of the Year, making LSU the first school with two such honorees since the award began in 2012.