A cold one at the Convo?

By Allison Krecek

Water, soda, juice — drinks a person might buy at a sporting game or event at the Convocation Center. NIU may add something else: alcohol.

After President Doug Baker gave control of the Convocation Center to the Athletic Department, it began thinking of ways to make use of the facility. One idea tossed around was the possibility of selling alcohol at games and events.

Associate Athletic Director Ryan Sedevie believes that by selling alcohol at the Convo NIU can attract more national acts and fans.

“It’s basically being thought of to create maximum use of the facility,” Sedevie said. “Obviously revenue generation is a huge part of it, but I wouldn’t say the only reason we are looking into this is to make money.”

The idea is still in the beginning stages as staff and students, like Student Association President Jack Barry, are looking for research.

“I think that it is definitely a possibility worth exploring and looking into,” Barry said. “I think it could potentially help draw more students and interest to our sporting events, and then it would be nice, too, when we have a concert if we were to sell alcohol.”

Sedevie wants to make sure organizers have enough research before proceeding. He and other members of Athletics have taken a look at schools that have alcohol policies, like the University of Illinois-Chicago and the University of Illinois.

Organizers have also taken into account other factors that would have to be implemented if alcohol is to be sold: how to prevent minors from getting alcohol and what costs are associated with adding alcohol to the facility’s drink menu.

“You can’t just think, ‘Hey, I’ll make additional revenue by selling alcohol at our event,’” Sedevie said. “You have to look at the security side of things, how you police it, when you cut off sales, just the whole operational side of things.”

While Sedevie and Barry are looking for more facts to see if they would like to further explore selling alcohol, students like freshman chemistry major Dominique Trost think it could be a good idea.

“…As long as they have people properly checking ID’s then it’s fine and the school could make money,” Trost said. “I don’t think it will affect the games or events.”

Checking students’ ID’s is one of the concerns Sedevie is exploring. While he does not yet have a clear plan about what to do to those who use fake ID’s, he is positive that if the initiative to sell alcohol is to continue then organizers will form a better plan to prevent illegal drinking.

“It needs to be explored and researched a little more before we can give a definite answer, but I guess that from the attendance standpoint that could possibly help,” Barry said. “We want to make sure of addressing all possible futures and all possible complications before we go through with this.”

For now there is no definitive answer as to whether NIU will be selling alcohol at the Convocation Center. If the research shows it could help the university then it might be sold at the games and events, but nothing is certain.

“We just want to make sure that we’re doing everything we can to maximize the use of the Convocation Center, if that’s bringing nationally recognized acts here or even our own sporting events, and we’re using it to our fullest capabilities. Alcohol is just a piece of that,” Sedevie said.