Editorial: Don’t let stadium beer sales be only for privileged

Published 10:00 am Monday, April 5, 2010

Anyone of legal drinking age who wants to have a brew or two at the new University of Minnesota Golden Gophers football stadium should be allowed to put their dollars down and then sit and relax with their beers.

A class system of the more well off able to down brewskis or other alcohol in suites while those evidently of a lesser sub-class sitting in “dry” seats of the publicly-funded stadium should not be allowed to happen.

Lawmakers last year determined that alcohol either be sold everywhere in the stadium or else not at all. University officials had wanted to give special alcohol preference to those in expensive suites and luxury seats, while saying not to others in attendance. The result: The entire stadium was dry for the 2009 season.

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But all of a sudden some lawmakers have taken out their calculators and realize that the alcohol ban has cost the university $1 million to $1.3 million. So now there’s a bill calling for limited alcohol sales at the stadium — for the upper crust, of course.

State Rep. Tom Rukavina, DFL-Virginia, opposed such a move last session and is doing so once again. He says allowing alcohol in only luxury areas smacks of elitism.

Right on, representative.

First of all it’s a ridiculously prudish rule to not allow beer sales throughout the stadium. Just monitor it properly. And do university officials really believe that college students didn’t find a way to sneak in a bit of alcohol last year? Are they that far removed from their college days and memories?

And secondly, to set up a class system for beer sales is downright un-American.

Keep fighting the good fight on this one as chairman of the House Higher Education Committee, Rep. Rukavina.

— The Mesabi Daily News of Virginia, March 24