U urged to seek private funding

The governor’s stadium committee noted that the University cannot maintain the Metrodome alone.

Molly Moker

Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s stadium screening committee recommended Thursday that the University not receive state funding for an on-campus football stadium.

John Doan, committee chief of staff, said the state cannot finance three stadiums at this time.

“The committee is going to recommend to the governor that the University should be encouraged to pursue private financing first for an on-campus football stadium,” he said.

University officials could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Doan said the committee sees a need for an on-campus stadium and also realizes it will not be financially possible for the University to be the sole Metrodome tenant.

However, Doan said the committee will still recommend the University keep raising money privately before coming back to ask the state for more funding.

Committee member Annette Meeks said although the University will not be recommended for funding, the committee supported the Gophers receiving future funding.

“No one wants to think of the Gophers rattling around in the big Metrodome all by themselves,” Meeks said. “University officials believe they can raise 60 percent of the money by themselves. We’d like to see that happen, and then help them out after they have the money.”

The Minnesota Student Association is working to generate private funding to keep the options open for an on-campus stadium.

MSA President Eric Dyer said MSA and the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly last year passed the first joint resolution stating they would both only support an on-campus, Gophers-only stadium.

“We’ve been without a home for 20 years,” Dyer said. “We want our living room back.”

Dyer said he sent a letter to University President Bob Bruininks reaffirming that students will only support an on-campus stadium. He said Bruininks agreed with his letter.

Dyer said he would next like to see a financial model so students would know how much money they would need to chip in. MSA is also holding meetings to gather student input for how to fund an on-campus stadium.

First-year student Jen Pozner said she wants an on-campus

stadium and would be willing to pay additional student fees to obtain one.

“The University is already expensive enough,” Pozner said. “Paying an extra hundred dollars a year wouldn’t make a difference to me.”

Pozner said she would go to more football games if a stadium were on campus, and she said profits from increased ticket sales would help the University counteract future fee increases.

Junior Charles Swallow said he feels left out from Big Ten tradition by not having an on-campus football stadium.

“This campus needs to be more traditional,” Swallow said.

Swallow said he would have no problem paying $100 for an on-campus stadium.

Senior Travis Bezella said it is time for the athletics department to receive more money, even if students have to pay it themselves.

“Academic upkeep is important, but they just renovated Coffman,” Bezella said. “But I think sports should get some time now.”

Not all students feel they should be asked to fund an on-campus stadium.

“We have the Metrodome and that’s fine,” junior Shannon

Mulvany said. “I wouldn’t want to pay any extra fees, especially for something as ridiculous as (a new stadium).”