DESTIN, Fla. — The Southeastern Conference has no plans to allow more fans to belly up to the bar than it already has.
SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said Friday that conference presidents voted on no changes in its current policy at the SEC Spring Meeting this week. Alcohol sales will continue to be limited to premium seating areas such as club seats and suites.
That means LSU’s dreams of building some sort of entertainment venue that would include alcohol sales beneath the south stands of Tiger Stadium are still a no-go.
“It’s still a topic of conversation going forward,” Sankey said as he addressed reporters following the close of this year’s Spring Meeting. “But we haven’t changed our policy. It’s the policy we’ve had in place for awhile.”
LSU athletic director Joe Alleva, who was heading home from Destin as Sankey spoke, echoed those statements in a text message:
“No change in policy at this time," Alleva wrote. "Discussions will continue.”
In May at the Tiger Tour stop in Baton Rouge, Alleva said LSU hoped to build “kind of a sports bar” in the area where disused south stadium dormitories were recently demolished. The area could eventually serve as a place where beer is sold, Alleva said then, but alcohol could not be removed from there.
Sankey did not discount the possibility of expanded alcohol sales coming up for a vote in the future, but that would be at least a year away. SEC presidents must vote on such a measure and such votes can only happen at the spring meeting.
In other news:
• Graduate transfers: Former Notre Dame quarterback Malik Zaire is now free to transfer to Florida if he wishes after the SEC voted to change its graduate transfer policy. The previous rule had banned schools from taking graduate transfers for three years if they had prior transfers who didn’t meet minimum academic requirements. That period has now been reduced to one year.
Zaire is reportedly considering Texas, Wisconsin and North Carolina as well as Florida.
The rule change brings the SEC more into line with other Power Five conferences. Sankey said the SEC tabled its discussion of modifying transfer rules between its member schools, choosing instead to see how NCAA committees deal with the issue.
“We are unique as it pertains to our graduate transfers,” Sankey said. “When confronted with a new reality, we came up with a number of policies to insure people who are interested in getting a graduate degree can do so.”
• Football signing class limits: The SEC voted to do away with what had become a redundant rule limiting schools to signing 25 players per class, choosing instead to adhere to a recently passed NCAA rule. Schools will not be allowed to oversign one year because they undersigned in the previous year’s class. The SEC legislation said its rule change will go into effect immediately. According to the NCAA, its rule goes into effect Aug. 1.
• Baseball replay: Sankey said the SEC will propose an expansion of reviewable plays to the NCAA. Vincent said such an expansion could include review of plays at first, second or third base and other critical plays.
• Disrupted games: Sankey said SEC presidents added to a previously adopted rule to say that schools must complete their eight-game conference football schedule to be championship eligible. The expanded rule stems from the dispute over last season’s LSU-Florida game, which was postponed by the threat in Florida from Hurricane Matthew and eventually moved from Gainesville to Baton Rouge. SEC presidents earlier gave Sankey broader authority to reschedule a game that had been disrupted.
• Hiring practices: The SEC wants its member schools to exercise more due diligence when hiring coaches who have run afoul of NCAA rules in the past. “Member institutions shall, at a minimum, request specific information from each candidate concerning his/her rules compliance record and communicate with NCAA enforcement and the Conference office regarding the same prior to offering employment,” the new rule reads.
• Auburn to the East?: Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs said there was no formal discussion about his school moving to the SEC East, likely changing spots with Missouri. Jacobs and Auburn football coach Gus Malzahn expressed their support for such a move this week.