Saturday is first test of alcohol sales at TCF

About 12 officers will be added to patrols this Saturday.

Jake Stark

TCF Bank Stadium will begin selling alcohol for the first time on Saturday for the Gophers’ first home football game of the season, and University officials are taking precautions to ensure a safe environment for fans.

All policies regarding alcohol sales at the stadium aim to encourage fans to drink responsibly, Vice President of University Services Pam Wheelock said in a press release Wednesday. She added that the University is confident that the controlled sale of alcohol in the stadium won’t “sacrifice the integrity of the University’s educational mission.”

According to the release, fans will be able to buy beer and wine in the west plaza of TCF Bank Stadium and in an overflow area near Gate A. Fans may bring any alcoholic beverage back to their seats to drink.

University police will have a larger presence.

University police Deputy Chief Chuck Miner said the sale of alcohol at the stadium will force University police to handle alcohol enforcement differently on game days than in the past.

Last season, University police had 80 to 90 officers patrolling the stadium during football games, Miner said. About 12 officers will be added to patrols, he said.

These extra officers will be stationed at the west plaza and in the overflow area near Gate A.

“We’re not expecting anything significantly different,” Miner said. “I think, for the most part, fan behavior will be the same as it’s been in the past.”

All servers in areas where alcohol is sold will be supervised by Aramark, the University’s food and beverage vendor, according to the release — which also said Aramark servers are trained to prevent intoxication, underage drinking and drunken driving.

In addition, Aramark will host designated driver booths designed to raise awareness about drunken driving at Gate C and in the Dairy Queen Club Room at the stadium. They will be staffed by Aramark Higher Education, the University’s Office for Student Affairs and representatives from beer distributers.

Miner said he isn’t concerned about alcohol sales at the stadium leading to more unruly behavior by fans because the alcohol will be served in a controlled environment and fans won’t “sneak in as much alcohol.”

But some students believe the sale of alcohol at the stadium will create more of a party atmosphere.

“It’s not that crazy at TCF right now,” said senior Zach Sudman. “I think alcohol sales will give the atmosphere at the stadium a boost.”