By Mike Kaszuba
A key legislator who will review a new plan to serve alcohol at the University of Minnesota's TCF Bank Stadium said Friday that she doubted the proposal would become law.
Sen. Linda Scheid, DFL-Brooklyn Park, will help lead a House-Senate conference committee Friday that will study proposed legislation that includes the new plan for serving alcohol at the school's stadium. That plan, passed late Thursday by the Minnesota House, would permit alcohol sales in the stadium's premium seats provided alcohol was also served in at least a third of the facility's general seating.
Under the proposal, which passed the House overwhelmingly, 75 percent of the revenue from the alcohol sales would go to scholarships for Minnesota students from families with an annual adjusted gross income of less than $100,000.
House legislators who made the last-minute proposal -- the Legislature adjourns Monday -- said they offered it as an "olive branch" to the school.
"I think it maybe complicates things" for the university, Scheid said of the new plan. "It will be really tough to decide which part of the stadium [gets alcohol]. . .who is going to get to buy a beer and who isn't?
"It's my understanding from the university they really don't want that provision," she added. "I think it does muddy it up." The House-Senate conference committee is expected to resolve the issue Friday.
Though athletic boosters and others have pushed to sell alcohol in the stadium's premium seats, the Legislature and Gov. Tim Pawlenty argued last year that alcohol should be served throughout the stadium, or not at all. Reacting to that decision, the school banned alcohol not only at the new football stadium but also at other athletic facilities on campus.
When the school's board of regents originally approved alcohol only in premium seats in December 2008, the university attempted to join other Big Ten schools that did the same -- including the University of Wisconsin, Michigan State University and the University of Iowa. The NCAA discourages schools from selling alcohol at games, and university officials said that selling alcohol in the general seating areas of the football stadium would put the school at odds with the policy at most schools.