NIU denies party association

By Libby John

Athletic officials said Monday that a football recruit party held at Amnesia on Dec. 5 was not NIU sponsored.

On Friday, the city of DeKalb charged the establishment with violating several liquor ordinance violations surrounding the party at 1000 E. Lincoln Highway.

Those charges include allowing underagers to enter the establishment, Amnesia manager James Sanfilippo allegedly telling the party organizer to have people over 21 pass their IDs to those who are underage and charging a flat fee for an unlimited amount of draft beer.

The weekend of the party was the first weekend potential recruits for the football team came to visit NIU.

Athletic Director Cary Groth said though football players and recruits were at the party, it wasn’t an official NIU event.

NIU Football Head Coach Joe Novak said the football players are encouraged to get to know new recruits when they first come. He added that they do have get-togethers, but this is the first time he’s heard of a party at an establishment.

Groth said the athletics department is not happy with the situation.

She said she hopes the players realize the bad publicity that was given to them because of the alleged incident.

The official party organizer was not identified in the the city’s report.

DeKalb Police Chief Bill Feithen said the reason a party organizer was not named was because the charges are against Amnesia, not the organizers of the party.

Junior wide receiver Dan Sheldon is the only one who has had individual charges filed against him that day. He was charged with unlawful issuance of an identification card. Both Groth and Novak said they were unaware of any one else having charges filed against them.

Groth said the reason the party was titled as the NIU football recruit party probably was because the football players and new recruits were involved.

Novak said no punishments have been given to anyone involved in the party.

None of the underage football players were drinking at the party, Groth said.

Neither the university nor the athletics department are conducting investigations of the alleged incident.

Groth said this was the first time she heard of such an incident involving any NIU athletics team.

“They have learned their lesson, hopefully,” she said.

Novak said there were two recruiting weekends held in December, and about two or three in January. He said on the weekend of Dec. 5, the recruits who came were from Illinois and most were high school seniors.

No one at Amnesia was available for comment. Sheldon also didn’t return calls by press time.