July 11, 2012
The University of Minnesota Board of Regents today approved plans for selling alcohol at TCF Bank Stadium and in premium areas of Williams Arena and Mariucci Arena beginning with the upcoming athletic year.
Athletics officials said they were pleased that a decision on the issue has been reached and will work diligently to comply with the Board's new policy while maintaining the best game-day atmosphere possible at TCF Bank Stadium for all fans.
The Board sought input from a large cross-section of U of M stakeholders in arriving at its decision. Key elements of the Board's alcohol sales policy and implementation plan include:
- The university will not sell or serve hard liquor. Only beer or beer and wine will be offered at intercollegiate athletic events.
- Alcohol sales in TCF Bank Stadium will start one hour prior to kick-off and end at the conclusion of halftime.
- There will only be one point of sale--on the west end of the general seating area of TCF Bank Stadium. Care will be taken to create a visual and physical barrier between the point of sale and the Veteran's Memorial and Tribal Nations Plaza outside of the west end gates. No alcohol will be allowed on those spaces.
- Patrons will be limited to two beers per person per transaction. Patrons may return to their seats to consume their beverages.
- All staff servers will be trained to check identification, identify intoxicated patrons and take other precautions to promote responsible and safe consumption. Patrons must show a valid ID before each purchase.
- University of Minnesota police and private security will increase their presence in the plaza area to ensure safety, and a designated driver program will be offered. The enabling legislation sunsets in two years and the university is considering this implementation a pilot project that will include continual assessment and adjustment as needed to promote safety and responsible consumption.
The university will now begin collecting proposals from distributors who can meet university policies, equip facilities and help ensure safe alcohol sales in time for the fall football season.
"Gopher Athletics is committed to the safety of our fans, and especially our student body," director of athletics Norwood Teague said. "We are confident that the procedures set forth in the Board's policy will help us continue to meet this goal. Gopher Athletics will work closely with on-site law enforcement, private security and trained servers to ensure that the Board's policies are followed and that Gopher football remains a fun and safe environment for all of our fans."
During the 2012 legislative session, legislators and Governor Mark Dayton eliminated conditions on the university's liquor licenses that led the university's Board of Regents in 2009 to prohibit alcohol sales at TCF Bank Stadium, Williams Arena and Mariucci Arena during athletic events. Current legislation, which allows the university more easily controlled alcohol sales, requires alcoholic beverages to be convenient to the general seating area.
"The university will continue to deliver a strong message of responsible alcohol consumption," said Amy Phenix, chief of staff to U of M President Eric Kaler. "We expect our fans to be responsible role models and we believe this implementation plan supports those goals."