Limited beer & wine sales approved for SIU sporting events

By Carly O'Keefe - bio | email

CARBONDALE (KFVS) - Tuesday night, the Carbondale City Council approved a liquor license for alcohol sales at both SIU Arena and the new football stadium, but there are a lot of restrictions.

The license specifies alcohol will only be sold in sky boxes at the stadium and the club level of SIU Arena. Still, sports fans who can afford those luxury seats will only be able to buy beer and wine before the game and during half time.

"Those are areas that are controlled and would allow us to serve alcohol, and by alcohol I mean beer and wine, in addition to food for those guests who have purchased tickets for the club level and the boxes," said SIU Chancellor Rita Cheng.

Some student sports fans say it's not fair allowing some to drink based on where they're seated.

"I think it's unfair to everyone who doesn't have the dough to get into the clubs," said SIU student Ross Bennett. "They should be able to buy (alcohol) in the bleachers."

"They did pay a lot more money, but I think other people who like to come to the games should be treated the same way," said SIU student Erin Doyle.

Chancellor Cheng says not about privilege. In order to sell any liquor at any SIU sporting event, she says the name of the game is control.

"We can't control inside the stadium a student who is over 21 buying beer and passing it on to a friend who is under 21," Cheng said. "We looked at the best models across the country and wanted to be sure if we were going to be serving wine and beer we did so in a controlled environment."

SIU is not the liquor license holder. Chartwell's, a private company that caters SIU sporting events holds the license. Beer and wine will not be sold at concession stands. It will only be available when box holders pay to have their event catered.

Southeast Missouri State University does not sell alcohol at their sporting events and it is not allowed at any events.

Director of Athletics John Shafer says that in the in-zone parking lot the policy is slightly different. This parking lot is meant to be an area for big booster holders to tailgate. He says he would be naive to say alcohol consumption doesn't happen here but he says they do keep a close eye on the area and make sure it remains a family environment.

A spokesman for the athletics department at Murray State University says they haven't discussed the possibility of selling alcohol at any sporting events.

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