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Volume 24 No. 154


New Univ. of Minnesota AD Norwood Teague yesterday at his introductory press conference said that he went for the job “partly because of instinct" and said that he "sees himself as a logical answer to some of the school's recent athletic struggles,” according to Amelia Rayno of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. A year earlier, Teague “had turned down an offer from Miami” and was “contacted for the position at North Carolina, his alma mater, but was satisfied at VCU.” Then he “ran into Dan Parker -- the president of the search firm Minnesota used to find candidates -- and was persuaded to take a look at Minnesota.” Rayno notes what Teague “can give, he believes, is a new, effective brand of fundraising, something Minnesota sorely needs.” With both the football team and the men's basketball team “stalling in recent years, ticket sales have floundered, and in 2011 average attendance at TCF Bank Stadium hit a low for the three years the team has been in the new stadium.” Rayno notes one of the “biggest priorities is resurrecting a limping football team” and both Teague and the school’s President Eric Kaler “downplayed” the fact that VCU does not have a football program. Kaler noted, "Football is not new to Norwood." Teague does not start “until July 1, but a priority list is already forming: listening candidly to everyone on the staff describe the state of the department, laying down structure for major fundraising and starting a master facility plan” (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 4/24).

: In St. Paul, Ben Goessling notes Teague will be “asked to inject cash into an athletics department facing key decisions about its facilities.” Men's basketball coach Tubby Smith “has made no secret of his desire for an on-campus practice facility and said again Monday he is hopeful Teague can help make it happen.” Teague also “could have to chart the future of 84-year-old Williams Arena, which is easily the Big Ten's oldest basketball arena” (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 4/24). In Minneapolis, Chip Scoggins writes Kaler acknowledging that Teague’s previous tenure as AD did not include a football team was a move “designed to ease fan anxiety and concerns -- and perhaps even outrage -- over the fact.” Scoggins: “There’s nothing wrong with a little skepticism, and the lack of football administration to Teague's resume cannot be ignored.” A track record in anything “is ideal, but the absence of one doesn’t automatically disqualify someone from implementing a vision and game plan that gets desired results.” Scoggins asks, “Doesn’t Teague at least deserve a chance to prove that?” The Gophers need Teague “to raise money and bring new energy to the department.” They need a “new strategic plan for fundraising and some fresh ideas that generate additional revenue sources” (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 4/24).

I'LL DRINK TO THAT: In Minneapolis, Rachel Stassen-Berger notes the state Legislature has “overwhelmingly approved letting University of Minnesota football fans drink alcohol at TCF Bank Stadium.” Gov. Mark Dayton said that he will “sign the measure that passed the House Monday and the Senate last week.” Alcohol has been “banned at the new stadium since it opened because lawmakers objected to the university's plan to allow drinking only in the arena's expensive suites.” The new plan, a “compromise that passed the House on a 115-13 vote and the Senate 55-3, allows beer for all in special tents during college football games through halftime” (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 4/24).

The cost of football tickets in the Big Ten has been "on a steady rise over the past few seasons," according to Matt Charboneau of the DETROIT NEWS. Purdue and Illinois "joined the Michigan schools in raising at least some of their football ticket prices" for '12, while "every other school has had some type of cost increase" in the last three years. Among the six BCS conferences, the Big Ten has the second-highest average "cost per ticket for its premium games" at $64.67. When looking at attendance figures from the past three seasons in the Big Ten, it is "not hard to see that the teams that draw the most fans are near the top in ticket prices." Michigan and Ohio State "led the nation in attendance last season, and the rivals are also among the most expensive in terms of football tickets." At Ohio State, an eight-game schedule in '12 will cost season-ticket holders $560 "along with a donation of at least" $1,500. At Michigan, the season-ticket packages for its six-game season are $390 "with a donation ranging from as low as" $50 to as much as $500. For those "struggling to fill seats, it's a constant battle to balance ticket costs with decreasing demand." At Purdue, where the attendance has "dropped for three straight seasons, officials are attempting to make it easier for their fans to attend." While the premium seats "have gone up minimally, lower-end seat prices have been dropped almost" 33%. Demand for tickets is "not the only reason for increased prices." All schools are "dealing with rising costs, from coaches' salaries and the cost of paying for scholarships to the simple costs of transporting its teams to and from games." While football teams "often fund the bulk of a school's athletic department, those costs add up quickly" (DETROIT NEWS, 4/23).