Sooner fans boo Boren's booze ban

Saturday, September 20th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) _ A ban on alcohol sales at University of Oklahoma stadium clubs and lounges during football games has angered some club seat holders who donated a minimum of $1,000 for club privileges.

The Kerr-McGee Stadium Club, part of the stadium's new expansion, served alcohol during the Sooners' season opener against the University of North Texas on Aug. 30.

But on the day before OU's next home game two weeks later, donors received e-mails stating alcohol sales were a one-time event.

``The matter was never brought to the president or the board of regents,'' University of Oklahoma President David Boren said Friday. ``The practice is the same as it has been for 75 years, maybe it's been 85 years,'' that no alcohol will be served at football games, Boren said.

``While some people maybe did overindulge in that first game, there was not any particular incident,'' said Associate Athletic Director Kirby Hocutt. ``It was the atmosphere that it created, as well as the reputational and legal risks.''

But some of the 2,137 donors with club privileges accused university officials of going back on their word.

Peter Fulmer, an Oklahoma City real estate appraiser who donated an extra $2,500 for two seats, said some donors are discussing suing the university if the alcohol ban is not lifted.

Fulmer said athletic department officials repeatedly talked about the benefit of a club serving alcohol when they were seeking donors to expand the football stadium.

An item from the athletic department's Sooner Club news printed when the university was seeking donors last fall reads: ``Upscale food services will be available, as well as alcohol service through the day.''

In a letter on Wednesday, Athletic Director Joe Castiglione asked donors to contact his department if the alcohol ban causes them to re-evaluate their interest in having club seats for the remainder of this season.

Hocutt said the athletic department had received ``a number of calls'' but no one has asked that they get their donations refunded.

Boren said there was never a written agreement that alcohol would be served to donors.

``We are a public university; we desire a family environment,'' Boren said. ``We must be concerned about liability. It only takes one problem to damage the university or create a legal liability, and our university will not take these undue risks.''

Fans watching the game from 27 special skyboxes that require annual donations of $55,000 to $65,000 per box still will be allowed to bring their own alcohol because private entities are leasing the space from the university.