Students divided over drinking rules at stadium

Laurie Wiedenhoff

Alcoholic beverages are prohibited in Jack Trice Stadium — except for spectators sitting in the skybox seats.

“The university has never sold beer or alcohol in Jack Trice Stadium or at athletic events,” said Tom Kroeschell, director of media relations for the Athletic Department.

Kroeschell said the reason alcohol is allowed in the skyboxes is because, although the skyboxes are owned by the university, they are leased out to businesses and individuals in 10-year contracts.

The skyboxes at Jack Trice Stadium hold between nine and 32 people and range in cost from $15,000 to $35,000 per year.

Lease money from the skyboxes for the current 10-year period is paying for the initial construction cost of the press box tower, Kroeschell said.

Kroeschell said in the future, money from the skyboxes will go toward maintaining the Athletic Department’s 20 sport programs.

As part of the lease agreement, renters have access to the wine and beer service that is provided through the university’s Food Service.

Kroeschell said this access to alcohol is part of the “enhancement” of the suites.

When asked how they felt about beer being allowed in the skyboxes and not in the stadium, students had mixed feelings.

“I see some serious discrimination here,” said Sean Adams, junior in management information systems.

“Why should people who donate money to Iowa State be able to buy beer in the stadium, while students who are the core of the cheering section cannot buy beer?” Adams asked.

Many students pointed out that one can purchase alcohol at hockey games, but Kroeschell said ISU hockey is not an inter-collegiate sport and is not under the Athletic Department’s supervision.

“I don’t think people in the skybox should get to drink beer — they are taking part in the same NCAA event as everyone else, so they shouldn’t get beer,” said Sara Vaughn, junior in psychology.

Other students said they feel beer should not be sold at football games.

“I can see why they don’t sell it in the stands,” said Tina Wagner, sophomore in apparel merchandising and design. “There’s too many students who are drunk when they go to the games as it is.”

Kristy Bodin, an undeclared sophomore, agreed.

“I think it’s good they don’t sell it in the stadium,” she said.

“It would cause a big problem with underage drinking, and it would be more of a hassle for the university and students,” Bodin said.

Marti Sheller, sophomore in advertising, also said alcohol should be kept out of the stadium.

“Too many people would abuse the privilege,” Sheller said.

Kroeschell said the skyboxes are a more controlled atmosphere than the stands, and that individuals should be discouraged from bringing in alcohol.

And the availability of alcoholic beverages in the skyboxes probably will not change in the next eight years.

Kroeschell said there have been no problems with this current arrangement, and that policies will be reviewed at the end of the current 10-year lease period.

Meanwhile, students say they will continue tailgating and drinking before the game.

“If you’re 21 and can drink in a skybox, you should also be able to drink in the stadium,” said Chris Heinen, junior in community and regional planning.

“There isn’t much of a difference between drinking at a tailgate and drinking inside the stadium,” he said.