comScore

U of M to take fun out of sneaking beer into games

The University of Minnesota will allow beer sales at Mariucci Arena, and based on this recent photo, long lines are not a major concern.

The University of Minnesota will allow beer sales at Mariucci Arena, and based on this recent photo, long lines are not a major concern. Gopher Puck Live

When teens and 20-somethings plot smuggling prohibited substances into an event venue, that's just good clean illegal fun. 

Can you tape five beers to your leg and not walk like a robot? Would your friend slide a fifth of something against her cleavage and stare security dead in the eye? Does anyone have objections about drinking from a previously enclosed bottle that was temporarily stored in someone's sock or underwear?

All that tomfoolery's admirable.

But when their two- and three-generations-older counterparts start thinking "How do I get kinda faded without getting caught by these judgy ninnies?" that is when we have to ask if something absurd is afoot.

Heretofore, the University of Minnesota has prohibited the sale of alcohol in general admission sections of its college sports venues. Even TCF Bank Stadium banned beer when it first opened, because who among us would ever associate college football with the consumption of adult beverages?

That restriction ended in 2012, three years into the football arena's operation, and it's been the only U of M sports spot with sanctioned sloppiness. At last, that's about to change, per the Star Tribune, which reports on a policy vote taken by the U's Board of Regents last week. 

Booze sales have already been allowed for attendees in "premium seating" (read: luxury boxes), who likely enjoyed spitting chardonnay onto the unwashed horde while chatting with someone who is comfortable being labeled a "booster." Said horde will now get to fend for itself in undoubtedly epic lines at Williams Arena, home of the men's and women's basketball teams, and Mariucci, where the men's hockey team plies its trade, sometimes to shockingly sparse crowds.

The move toward booze (well, beer and wine; hard alcohol will still have to go in your friend's bra [remember to thank her]) is hoped to encourage ticket sales in both gyms, especially coupled with cheaper ticket prices. 

Ridder Arena, home of the women's hockey team, doesn't have a liquor license at present, which is a shame, as that's just about the only high-profile Gophers team whose success makes you want to uncork a champagne bottle instead of throwing it at the coach.

Beer and wine were on tap for this year's Final Four in Minneapolis, a first for the NCAA, which is typically so rigid you're convinced it's a narc. Recent moves have indicated the college sports institution's acknowledging there might be healthier approaches to consumption than waking up at 6 a.m. for five hours of taking shots and downing beer bongs in a parking lot.

Adjustments to Williams and Mariucci will cost about $70,000, with an estimated revenue for the school of $250,000 annually, making this one of the more lucrative episodes of a state institution getting the stick out of its ass in recent memory. 

Look at you, Minnesota. First you recognized people might want to buy beer on Sunday. Now you're confessing some of you want it while watching college athletics. Prouda ya, kid. Let us know if you need help moving out of mom and dad's place.