Commission allows alcohol sales to premium seat patrons at ISU's Hancock Stadium

By Marshanna Hester

June 3, 2013 Updated Jun 3, 2013 at 10:31 PM CDT

NORMAL, Ill. -- A new look and new feel is underway at Illinois State University.

From the field to the chair back seats, renovations on the east side of Hancock Stadium look to attract more fans and money.

That's because those in premium seating only, the suites or private rooms, can enjoy booze with their pigskin.

Larry Lyons, Deputy Director of ISU Athletics, says it's an amenity those patrons have come to expect.

"That's part of our culture," said Lyons. "As long as we do it responsibly and everyone takes care of their business so to speak and I think we can enjoy what has become a unique American experience and that's college football on a Saturday."

Lyons says the university went through the process with the state of Illinois in January to change the liquor statute specific to ISU, similar to what's been done at the U of I and Northern Illinois.

"The campus right now is going through the process of defining their policies specific to our facility," Lyons said. "We'll follow all the rules and regulations that need to be followed. We'll have training for all servers. We'll make sure we're serving the right folks."

The Town of Normal Liquor Commission unanimously approved the liquor license to the stadium's vendor, Sodexo Monday night.

Mayor Chris Koos says selling beer, mixed drinks and wine at the facility is a common trend ISU is just catching onto.

He says it will not set a bad example for students.

"You go to a professional sports venue and its everywhere," said Koos. "This will be in a contained environment so the general public won't even know its happening."

Lyons says the community will also benefit, as they can use club area for receptions, luncheons and business meetings.

The expansion project is scheduled to be complete for the first Redbird football game on September 21st.

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