In heaven, the song writer tells us, there is no beer. Well, the University of Minnesota campus may not be heaven, but that same rule applies at the new TCF Bank Stadium that opens this fall.
The university's Board of Regents Wednesday reluctantly voted to make all athletic events on campus alcohol free. The reluctance came because the decision ends the practice of serving alcohol in the high-end private suites that have been leased at Mariucci and Williams arenas and the new football stadium. That means suite customers might choose to attend other sporting venues, faced with the prospect of watching 'U' teams without a libation in their hands, and the university will lose millions in revenue.
Students of legal age have been able to buy beer at the Metrodome for years because the games were off campus. Now that Gopher football has moved back on campus, the Big Ten rules prohibiting the sale of alcohol to students are back in effect.
Many Gopher football fans who have faithfully sat in the cheap seat season ticket spots are gray-haired baby boomers or even older fans who vaguely recall the Rose Bowl teams of the 1960s. The notion that these loyal fans and the over-21 students who chose to drink would be deprived of a cold beer on a hot September Saturday while the well-to-do in luxury suites are served drinks strikes us as elitist and unfair. The revenue that will be lost will have to be found somewhere else - perhaps (we can always dream) by increased ticket revenue generated by a winning football team.
The no-alcohol rule shouldn't be a huge burden for any of the fans. Tailgating parties will continue and the stadium is just a short walk from Stub and Herb's and other venerable institutions that serve customers drinks.
When it comes to Golden Gophers' stadium, however, the motto should be Beer for all or be dry this fall.
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