Gophers football boosters from the Goal Line Club said they want their maroon “back to campus” wristbands to be read all over.
The club began selling the wristbands last week at Gold Country Inc. stores to build support for a new on-campus stadium and said it hopes to sell 50,000.
“It’s the same thing the ‘U’ is doing with the e-petition (the University’s online stadium-support submittal),” said Goal Line Club member Mark Williams, organizer of the wristband drive.
If a stadium is not built, Williams said, the fund-raising money could help fund other future building projects.
Wristbands are being used at college campuses around the country.
University fund-raisers adopted the idea after hearing about a similar drive at Virginia Tech, Williams said. The Ohio State University, the University of Kansas, smaller colleges and high schools also have used the rallying tool.
“Back to Campus” wristbands are thick, maroon-colored rubber bands and cost $1. Williams said the club earns 60 cents or 65 cents per band.
“We hope we can raise $30,000 on the sale of 50,000 (wristbands),” he said.
Understanding the stadium’s projected cost, the wristband fund-raiser’s impact is inconsequential, Williams said.
“We hope there’s 50,000 people wearing these bracelets,” Williams said. “But a $30,000 contribution to a $220 million stadium is not that much.”
Goal Line Club president Doug Hoefer said the club has not advertised the bracelets, but football coach Glen Mason has worn them for press conferences.
Mason bought 500 bracelets to give to his friends and family, Williams said.
Scott Bitter, Gold Country Inc. director of operations, said many people were buying several wristbands at a time, often saying they were for friends and family.
The store makes no profit from the wristbands, he said and has never participated in such a campaign.
“They’re just in a bucket on the counter,” Bitter said. “(Students) seem like they know all about them; we’re just an outlet for them.”
The wristbands are the first step in a much larger awareness campaign that Hoefer said he could not comment on further.
University Athletics Director Joel Maturi said he was glad someone was making the demand for a stadium known.
“What they’ve done is a step ahead of the athletics department and the University,” Maturi said. “They’re trying to raise some money, but to me it’s an awareness thing; nothing more, nothing less.”
According to the Goal Line Club Web site, the wristband drive asks Web surfers to buy a wristband to support future building projects, not specifically a stadium.
The Web site’s wording is set because the University does not have a stadium fund yet, Williams said.
“So we just put ‘to future building projects’ on this even though everyone knows it’s for a stadium,” Williams said.