MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- The University of Minnesota has a $35 million pledge from an anonymous donor to help build an on-campus football stadium, the Star Tribune reported Thursday.
The donor proposed the money to start a drive to build a Gophers-only football stadium across from Mariucci Arena, the newspaper reported, citing two unidentified people with knowledge of the discussions between the donor and the university.
The stadium would likely seat between 45,000 and 55,000 people and cost between $180 million and $220 million.
The university also has spoken with several construction companies about working together on the project and donating the cost of labor and materials, which could result in close to $50 million toward the stadium's cost, the Star Tribune reported.
"I can't confirm any dollar amount, but I can just simply say that we're talking to a good many people," University President Robert Bruininks told the Star Tribune.
"Some people have expressed an interest in the possibility of a campus-based football stadium and have indicated a willingness to work with us in raising money and, perhaps, making substantial contributions," he said.
Athletic director Joel Maturi told WCCO-AM on Thursday that it was premature to talk about a date for construction to begin.
"As excited as I am about the possibilities of us moving forward, there has to be a realization that there's a lot of work that needs to be done yet before this is a reality," Maturi said.
The Gophers have played at the Metrodome -- sharing time with the Twins and Vikings -- since moving from Memorial Stadium before the 1982 season.
The shared stadium has resulted in scheduling conflicts and uncertainties. Because Twins playoff games have priority at the Dome, there is the possibility two of the Gophers' seven home games this season will have to be moved to either a different location or a different date.
The Gophers already have moved their homecoming festivities from Oct. 18 to a Nov. 1 game against Indiana.
Returning Gophers football to campus would have an expected huge impact for a cash-strapped athletics department. The Gophers football program took in $11.7 million during the fiscal year that ended in July 2002.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.