… in the Minneapolis Star Tribune notes that the most charitable description of what’s been going on at the clubby University of Minnesota medical school would be “bizarre.”
Saturday, January 30, 2010
[or does it?]
From the Pioneer Press:
U won't fight alcohol ban at TCF Stadium
Board of Regents has more pressing legislative priorities, chairman says
A state law that prompted an alcohol ban at the new TCF Bank Stadium had U officials fuming last year, with some vowing to push for a redo in this year's Legislature.
But with the legislative session starting next week, the issue appears dead.
"We have no plans to do anything on that," Board of Regents Chairman Clyde Allen said of a push to revisit the law. "We're not interested in doing anything with that whatsoever."
Regents approved the sale of liquor in premium seating areas of the stadium in 2008, but they banned it the next year after the Legislature forbade selling alcohol in any part of the stadium unless it was sold throughout.
At the time, since they didn't want to make liquor generally available for sale at an on-campus stadium, some regents said they felt the law forced them into a ban they didn't want. The idea was to live with the law for a year and then ask lawmakers to rethink their position.
Regent Dean Johnson, a former majority leader of the state Senate, said in June that U officials needed to reach out to legislators and the governor to "try to renegotiate, if you will, this particular law." Johnson did not respond to requests for an interview for this story.
Regent David Larson said Friday that he still thinks lawmakers were wrong to intervene the way they did and that the move cost the university money. But he said he's not sure the time is right to revisit the issue.
"Frankly, we have not discussed that as a large group," he said.
The $288.5 million, 50,800-seat stadium opened last year, bringing football Saturdays back to campus. While alcohol was sold throughout the team's old home in the Metrodome, the idea was to make it available only in the premium seats at TCF Bank Stadium.
Regents were counting on luxury suites to generate significant revenue over and above what the university was making in the Metrodome, Larson said.
Access to alcohol was part of the sales pitch for those premium seats, and had regents known what the Legislature was going to do, they likely would have spent less on the suites, he said.
The decision whether to push lawmakers to reconsider the ban will depend in part on how much the no-alcohol policy hurt revenues in the first season, Larson said.
U officials said Friday that updated revenue numbers are not available, but the estimate they've been using for months is that the alcohol ban would cost about $1 million in premium-seat revenue. The ban applies to the university's nearby Williams and Mariucci arenas as well as TCF Bank Stadium.
The regents meet again next month, and Larson said he doesn't think the subject is settled yet.
"I suspect that it probably will come up," he said.
For the time being, asking the Legislature to reconsider its all-or-nothing sales rule "has not been on the agenda and is not," U spokesman Daniel Wolter said in an e-mail. "(U President Robert Bruininks) has said he considers it a closed matter and the Legislature has spoken.
So is it a closed issue or not, folks?