Survey shows strong support for stadium

The poll shows 65 percent of respondents support an on-campus stadium.

Nearly two-thirds of University students support building an on-campus football stadium, according to a Minnesota Daily poll.

The poll showed 65 percent of respondents said they strongly or somewhat agree that the University should have an on-campus stadium. But 65 percent also said student fees should not be used to help fund the stadium.

The poll of 326 University students was conducted via e-mail from May 4 to May 12.

Athletics Director Joel Maturi said he was encouraged by the results because most students have never experienced an on-campus stadium.

“If 65 percent feel that way based on a gut reaction, I would say that speaks pretty highly of our desire to move forward and make this happen,” Maturi said.

A strong showing of student support could help convince the Legislature to pass a stadium bill, he said.

The poll also showed 22 percent of students surveyed considered a new football stadium to be one of the most important issues on campus. Another 46 percent said they would attend more football games if the Gophers played on campus.

Maturi said one of the main reasons for building an on-campus facility is to increase student attendance. He said he would expect student attendance to increase over time because as more students start going to games, their friends will join them.

“If 46 percent start coming, I guarantee you more than 46 percent will start to come because everyone else is going to be doing it too,” Maturi said. “That’s what happens on other Big Ten campuses: it becomes a way of life. That home Saturday football game becomes a way of life.”

Although 65 percent of respondents said student fees should not be used to help fund the stadium, 45 percent said they would not be willing to pay any fees for a stadium.

Of those surveyed, 78 percent said they would not pay more than $50 in student fees per semester for an on-campus stadium, while 12 percent said they would be willing to pay $50 to $99 and 7 percent would pay $100 to $200. Two percent said they would pay more than $200 per year toward a stadium.

Poll respondent Mark DiPasquale, a senior computer science student, said the University should try to pay for the stadium without using student fees.

“I’m not opposed to it entirely, but I believe that those who want the stadium should be funding it,” DiPasquale said. “I don’t think it should be something that is imposed on the student population as a whole.”

In the poll, 44 percent of graduate students said they would not be willing to pay any student fees for a stadium.

Chris Pappas, the outgoing president of the Council of Graduate Students, said most graduate students oppose helping to pay for a stadium.

“The fundamental position is that if the University wants to pursue a stadium that’s fine, but if students are going to have to pay for it, that’s not fine,” Pappas said. “It’s just an unfair burden given current context.”

Approximately 48 percent of undergraduates said they would not be willing to pay any student fees for a stadium.

Minnesota Student Association President Eric Dyer said students support the stadium, but are concerned about increased student fees.

“It shows that most students feel student fees are already too high,” Dyer said. “With tuition increasing every year, students don’t feel they are getting what they pay for.”

Dyer said he thinks more students would support paying student fees if they were better informed about the benefits of an on-campus stadium, but he hopes the negative response will persuade legislators and potential donors to give more money.