The University of Minnesota Board of Regents has approved a proposal allowing the sale of alcohol in premium seating areas at the new Gopher football stadium and other on-campus sports venues.
Under the plan, beer and wine can be sold in private suites and premium seating areas in Mariucci and Williams arena, and the new Gopher football stadium now under construction.
Regent Linda Cohen said she voted for the proposal because it would allow the U to compete with other sports venues in the area, and sell the $45,000 a year private suites at the new stadium.
"It would be naive to think we aren't competing with sales of suites with a lot of pro sports in the Twin Cities area. It's important that we make a go at the TCF stadium," said Cohen. "It doesn't cost the university a lot of money, and this is a way that we will help to promote the sale of suites."
Regent Anthony Baraga was one of only two board members who voted against the proposal. Baraga said even though alcohol would be tightly controlled, the act of selling alcohol on campus sends the wrong message to underage students.
"I think this gives us a chance to have an alcohol-free stadium and set the benchmark for the whole NCAA. We could be the poster child for having an alcohol-free stadium," said Baraga.
Another regent didn't think alcohol should be available only to fans able to pay for premium seating.
University officials say the plan will give the U a modest profit, while attracting buyers for the 34 premium suites in the new TCF football stadium.