UD's Take on Alcohol in the House That Bob Built
A Worthy Conundrum for One of Our Leading Universities:
As the University of Minnesota’s spanking new football arena, named in honor of a local bank, gets ready for its first game, the best minds on campus have set to work on this question — Whether tis nobler to suffer the drunkenness of outrageous students, or take arms against the lot, and by opposing, end them… Hm…. Hm…
Should we let students in the cheap stadium seats drink alcohol? Some will act up, costing us money in extra police protection, lawsuits and stadium damage — and we’ve already come close to bankrupting ourselves with this astoundingly cost-overrun stadium… At the moment, we want to be able to sell alcohol only to the rich people in the premium seats, and to withhold booze from the poor students… That seems the wisest way to go…
Yet even as the university grapples with this question, the legislature has stepped in:
(here UD quotes the Daily)
Gov. Tim Pawlenty signed the omnibus liquor bill on May 20 , which in part mandates that alcohol be available to all legal-age buyers in the TCF Bank Stadium — not just those in premium seats, as previously planned.
… In the University’s original plans for the stadium, alcohol would have been sold to ticket holders in premium seating areas: suites, indoor and outdoor club seats and loge boxes.
… Rep. Tom Rukavina , DFL-Virginia, wrote the preliminary legislation that became the omnibus liquor bill.
“There was an overwhelming feeling in the Legislature that what the Board of Regents did was elitist,” Rukavina said. “If you can afford to sit in the premium seats, you can drink chardonnay, and if you sit in the cheap seats, you get water or pop … We didn’t think that was right.”
… An incident last fall in which a couple had sex in a Metrodome bathroom stall is an example of the kind of situation that could be avoided by not selling alcohol, [a policeman] said.
“It probably would not have occurred if those individuals were sober,” he said. “Those were both of-age individuals with alcohol that was legally purchased at the stadium or elsewhere … Generally, we don’t have problems with people in a sporting environment who are sober.”
[He] said, however, that there is a problem with people who drink before going to sporting events.
“The flip side is: The alcohol-related issues we dealt with were probably individuals who drank alcohol prior to even coming to the stadium,” he said.
Men and women are equal contributors to alcohol-related incidents at the Metrodome, [he] has found. Typically, intoxicated people are found vomiting in restroom stalls…
(Back to herself)
Well, we never said big time football games were pretty. There’s the budget-busting stadium. The bad boys on the team. The zillion-dollar coach about to quit for a better job and sue the university for an extra eight million on his way out. The drunk students. The drunk swells.