Subcommittee working to make new stadium policies

Saturday is the last time Gophers faithful will have to tailgate outside the Metrodome, but many students wonder whatâÄôs in store next year. Community and University of Minnesota officials have been working to develop tailgating polices for the TCF Bank Stadium when it opens next fall. ItâÄôs a hectic time for the administration as they prepare for the new challenges and responsibilities of having an on-campus stadium, Tom Wistrcill, associate athletics director, said To address these issues, the Game Day Operations Committee was conceived last February, which oversees virtually every aspect of the game day experience. One of the subcommittees is dedicated entirely to tailgating. âÄúWe want to promote a culture of tailgating,âÄù Wistrcill said, who serves on the tailgating subcommittee. They have yet to decide where to designate student tailgating areas or if alcohol will be allowed, Wistrcill said, but the policies will be laid out by the end of the school year, possibly the end of winter. Senior student and Interfraternity Council President Dustin Norman was appointed to the tailgating subcommittee to represent students. âÄúHaving the opportunity to sit at the table with them, we are being represented very well,âÄù Norman said. Wistrcill said their voices are being heard. âÄúThey have been very active,âÄù he said. âÄúItâÄôs been a good, healthy discussion.âÄù Norman said he advocated allowing alcohol on tailgating sites because a good portion of the student population is of the legal drinking age. âÄúIf we really want the college game day atmosphere, (banning alcohol) might pull people away,âÄù Norman said. Students and friends have made their case to Norman, he said, but they often donâÄôt consider all of the angles that are involved in the process. âÄúYou have to think about safety, clean-up and the communityâÄôs well-being, among other things,âÄù Norman said. Norman also said there could be âÄúthird-party vendingâÄù in the tailgate area for businesses on the West Bank and other areas to stay connected. The University has spoken with more than 25 schools across the country to get advice about how to manage game day operations at on-campus stadiums. For 26 years , football has been played at the Metrodome, so itâÄôs a new experience for most of the students and administration, Wistrcill said. âÄúGame day Saturdays will affect the entire campus and community, positively and negatively,âÄù Wistrcill said. The tailgating subcommittee is expected to operate throughout the season to evaluate and address issues that come up during the stadiumâÄôs first year. Ultimately, all decisions will be made by the two chairs of the Game Day Operations Committee, Laurie Scheich, associate vice president of auxiliary services and Athletics Director Joel Maturi. Aside from tailgating, there are six other subcommittees under the Game Day Operations Committee, which include campus operations, stadium and site operations, community connections, homecoming and game day traditions and communications. Associate athletics director Phil Esten said itâÄôs been a collaborative effort between âÄúinternal and external stakeholders.âÄù âÄúI think that the final determination will not only serve all on game day in a very meaningful and significant way,âÄù Esten said, âÄúbut will be the result of many groups working together to find common goals.âÄù Other members of the Game Day Operations Committee represent University food service provider Aramark , police, facilities and event management, Wistrcill said. Representatives from several neighborhoods surrounding campus also voiced concerns on the committee, Wistrcill said. The Goal Line Club, the official booster club of Gophers football, is hosting a âÄúDitch the DomeâÄù tailgate party before SaturdayâÄôs game.