Stream of beer and revenue

Partial allowance of alcohol at TCF Bank Stadium doesn’t go far enough.

State Sen. Sandy Pappas, DFL-St. Paul, has stepped prominently forward in defense of the University of MinnesotaâÄôs budget âÄî and its first-class sports fans. Her recent proposal to allow the University to serve alcohol to patrons in premium seating at TCF Bank Stadium would open up substantial streams of revenue in a time when the University needs it badly. Pappas should be commended for offering the University an increasingly rare display of financial compassion from the state Legislature. Unfortunately, her bill doesnâÄôt go far enough, and even so, it faces steep opposition on multiple fronts. University officials have declined thus far to comment on the new legislation, though President Bob Bruininks, University police and others expressed serious reservations last year about the general sale of alcohol at sporting events. They cited, among other things, the potential for alcohol-related behavioral problems, almost as if they werenâÄôt talking about the sale of alcohol to accountable adults of legal drinking age. Now is the time for the Legislature and University officials to move past prudery and half-measures to allow the unqualified legal sale of alcohol at TCF Bank Stadium sporting events. However, even if the current measure were to pass, the inexplicable fact remains that funds generated by alcohol sales would go toward athletics scholarships. Certainly, student athletics mean big business and are of great cultural importance to the University, but it would be outrageous to funnel this precious new revenue back into athletics at a time when University employees are facing furloughs and salary cuts. This is an opportunity for the $288 million TCF Bank Stadium to give money back to the University.