U pushes Gophers-only stadium

University officials have criticized the House speaker's proposal for a joint stadium with the Vikings.

Talks of an on-campus Gophers-only stadium continued Monday at the Capitol.

University chief financial officer Richard Pfutzenreuter and Athletics Director Joel Maturi reviewed stadium financial and construction plans at a Senate committee meeting.

Pfutzenreuter said the University is focusing on a Gophers-only stadium, but will keep options open for joint stadiums.

“We have different missions for football (than the Minnesota Vikings),” Pfutzenreuter said to the committee. “They want a lot of entertainment.”

The St. Paul Pioneer Press reported Monday that House Speaker Steve Sviggum, R-Kenyon, would like to see a joint stadium between the Vikings and Gophers on the St. Paul campus near the State Fairgrounds.

Sviggum said the state and the University would each fund 25 percent of the stadium and the National Football League would fund 50 percent.

He said the state’s portion could come from extending rental car and liquor sales taxes set to expire at the end of 2005.

Sviggum could not be reached for comment Monday.

Maturi had not heard of Sviggum’s plan Monday.

Although the University is keeping its options open, it is not in favor of a joint stadium in Minneapolis or St. Paul, he said.

“I think the study that was done already pretty much

concluded that what the Vikings need and what the Gophers need are significantly different,” Maturi said.

Pfutzenreuter said it will be crucial for the University to raise a large part of the money for a campus stadium from private donations.

Maturi has already received numerous checks from individuals for $5, $10 and $20 in support of a campus stadium.

At the committee meeting, Maturi held up a $100 check from the University of Michigan football coach that was donated with the hope of never having to play Minnesota at the Metrodome on a Friday night again.

Pfutzenreuter said 60 percent of the stadium cost could be privately funded.

Maturi also said it would not be possible for the Gophers to stay alone in the Metrodome. He said the Vikings are currently paying operating costs for the facility. If the Gophers took over, Maturi said the University would pay $7 million a year.

Many senators vocalized their support for an on-campus Gophers-only stadium at the meeting Monday.

“I think I speak for everyone here when I say this: Whatever we can do to help somewhere along the line, this can all get pieced together,” David Tomassoni, DFL-Chisholm, said. “And you can get your stadium.”