The University of Minnesota’s president said Friday that alcohol sales at the school’s football stadium would likely be allowed should the Minnesota Vikings play there temporarily, a move that would come as the school continues to ban the selling of alcohol at college games.
President Eric Kaler said the university was considering the policy change, but said the school’s board of regents would probably have to formally endorse a decision to have two separate alcohol policies at the same stadium. The Vikings and the university are in stepped-up negotiations to have the team play at the university for three years should a new Vikings stadium be built at the Metrodome.
“If we’re going to let the Vikings use TCF Stadium, that’s going to have to be part of the deal,” said Kaler, who said the school was now talking to the team regularly. Kaler, who became university president in July, said the school’s regents would have to consider approving alcohol sales “as part of the overall agreement to let the Vikings use” the on-campus TCF Bank Stadium.
Clyde Allen Jr., one of the university’s 12 regents, said he did not think it would be “hypocritical” for the school to ban alcohol sales at college games, but allow them in the same stadium for the Vikings. “I do think there’s a difference between the college games and the pro games,” said Allen.
“I don’t think it would be hypocritical. I think we have different facts to deal with and different situations to deal with,” he added.
The university currently bans alcohol sales at all on-campus athletic facilities. But an influential alumni group, largely with the school’s backing, has pushed for legislative approval to sell alcohol only in the premium seats at TCF Bank Stadium.
Legislators have opposed the plan, and at one point were joined by then-Gov. Tim Pawlenty in arguing that the school should sell alcohol throughout the stadium, or not at all. Rep. Tom Rukavina, DFL-Virginia, called the premium seating-only alcohol plan “rather elitist.”
Vikings spokesman Lester Bagley stopped short Friday of saying the team would require alcohol sales, and a National Football League spokesman said the decision would be left to the team.