Men’s hoops seats to be auctioned off

by Michael Rand

For the fourth consecutive season, courtside seats for Gophers men’s basketball games at Williams Arena will be available through an auction.
The seats, located behind the scorer’s table, are awarded to winning fans with a minimum starting bid of $2,500 per seat, plus the price of a season ticket.
“Ongoing demand for tickets in Williams Arena is overwhelming,” men’s athletics director Mark Dienhart said in a written statement. “We displace no current season ticket holders, and the revenue generated helps greatly as we try to develop competitive Big Ten budgets and pay our scholarship costs.”
Revenue from the auctioned seats went up in each of the first three seasons, said Jan Unstad, development director for men’s athletics. With the Gophers on the heels of a Final Four appearance, demand should be higher than ever.
The men’s athletics department will accept written bids for the seats starting on Tuesday, with bids closing on June 25 at 4:30 p.m. Information and bid forms are available by calling Unstad at 626-7812.
United Center tohost tourney
The Big Ten Council of Presidents/Chancellors today formally approved the United Center in Chicago as the site of the conference’s 1998 and 1999 men’s basketball tournaments.
The first-ever Big Ten tournament will take place March 5-8. Terms of the conference’s two-year agreement with the 23,484-seat United Center were not disclosed.
Big Ten officials solicited and analyzed 14 potential venues during the six-month period since the conference decided to implement a post-season tournament. Big Ten officials named the United Center, the Metrodome and the RCA Dome (Indianapolis) as finalists last March.
Gold Country results
Roseville native Pat Billig won the men’s race and Toni Leal of Milwaukee won the women’s title at Saturday’s Gold Country 5K road race, which finished at Bierman Track and Field Stadium.
Billig, 34, was an All-American runner at Moorhead State University. He finished with a time of 15:57. Wade Bergner of Red Wing, Minn., took second in 16:38 and Minneapolis native Pat Markey took third in 16:40.
Leal, 29, won the women’s race with a time of 19:06. Defending champion Julie Ruzynski of Blaine was the runner-up, finishing in 20:23. St. Paul’s Elizabeth Lee took third with a time of 20:42.