|Approved by the:
|Student Senate April 7, 2016|
Resolution to Prohibit Trade-off Arrangements between the University of Minnesota and Non-University Entities
The Student Senate believes that financial arrangements between University and non-University entities that provide a personal benefit to individual University officials at the expense of University resources, such as the apparent quid pro quo arrangement between Major League Baseball and the University Athletics Department for the use of TCF Bank Stadium in exchange for All-Star Game tickets, is inappropriate and should not be permitted.
Therefore, the Student Senate recommends to the Board of Regents and the President to ban such arrangements, except under rare and extenuating circumstances. In such cases where rare and extenuating circumstances are determined to exist, the Student Senate further recommends that the facts justifying such a determination should be made explicit and invite public comment at least 20 days prior to the vesting of benefits to University officials or the University makes its resources available to the non-University entity, whichever is sooner. It is the Student Senate's intention that a similar situation is not repeated in the future.
All students at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus pay a $12.50 "stadium fee" to pay for the "student share" of the TCF Bank Stadium on campus. This fee is used to pay off the debt used to finance and build the stadium, which opened in 2009. Under Minnesota law, the stadium fee must be assessed on students until the bond debt is paid off, which is expected to occur in 2032.
In December, 2015, the Board of Regents held a special meeting to review a financial audit of the Athletics Department and decisions made by former Athletics Director Norwood Teague. This audit revealed that Mr. Teague, along with the University's Real Estate Management Office, had authorized the use of the TCF Bank Stadium for a "rent free" Imagine Dragons concert hosted by Major League Baseball (MLB) on July 12, 2014. In return, Mr. Teague and others at the University received 50 tickets to the MLB's All-star Game events being hosted around the same time.
The audit reported that rental of the stadium was at-cost, with no associated rental fee. The report also noted that three other major events were held at the stadium during 2015, and each of those events was charged a flat $125,000 rental fee, in addition to a $2/ticket fee and suite rental. Thus, the University lost out on least $125,000 (possibly upwards of $200,000) in stadium rental fees. In exchange for at-cost rental of the stadium, Major League Baseball provided the University officials, including Mr. Teague, and donors with 50 tickets to the MLB All-Star Game, valued at $128,250 total. None of the tickets went to students, those who pay for the stadium. The audit noted this was an "unusual arrangement."
In responding to the audit and report, the University has stated that the tradeoff of 50 premium tickets for "rent free" use of the stadium was neither inappropriate or unreasonable. President Kaler has stated that he thinks it was an appropriate use of the stadium as a way for the University to be part of the All-star Game events held throughout the Twin Cities.
The new U.S. Bank Stadium in downtown Minneapolis is planning to host Super Bowl LII in February, 2018 and the Final Four in April, 2019. The Super Bowl is likely to include events similar to those accompanying the All-star Game, and planning for such events is likely to begin soon or have already started.
The University of Minnesota Professional Student Government (PSG) passed a bill disapproving the trade-off arrangement between the University and Major League Baseball on January 26, 2016. Following, the University of Minnesota Executive Committee of the Council of Graduate Students passed a resolution in support of that PSG bill.