Sunday, April 23, 2006

Homeland Security

Minnesota is doing what it can to keep Iowans out of the state on Nov. 18, which happens to be the day the Hawkeyes come rolling into the Metrodome to play the Golden Gophers. And who can blame them? You might recall the 2002 game, when Iowans stormed the Metrodome field after a 45-21 Hawkeye victory. While one group was carrying coach Kirk Ferentz off the field, another was tearing down a goalpost, eventually hauling it up the stairs and into the concourse. Minnesota managed to keep the Iowans off the field in 2004, but Iowa still won, 29-27, highlights of which we have here. Minnesota has had enough of these shenanigans on its home turf, so some new rules are in place for 2006. If you want a ticket to the game, you also have to buy one for the North Dakota State-Minnesota game on Oct. 21 in the Metrodome. It's called the "Gopher Gold Package." But that's not the restrictive part. To buy that package, you must be a Gopher season-ticket holder, a Minnesota "M" Club member, a Minnesota Alumni Association member or a Minnesota resident. These rules apply until Sept. 5, then you can be from anywhere and buy a ticket. "We're not trying to make any big issue out of this," Minnesota ticket manager Dan Teschke said. "We're not saying we're keeping out Hawkeye fans. We're just doing due diligence, and trying to do what's right for our fans and our team." By the way, the winner gets the Floyd of Rosedale trophy, a bronzed pig, which Iowa players are proudly displaying. More on that at a later date (subscription, so full story is in the comments section).

1 comment:

dawizofodds said...

April 23, 2006

Iowa Could Find It Harder to Make Dome Home

Mike Hlas
Cedar Rapids Gazette

The gauntlet has been laid down. If Iowa Hawkeyes fans are to turn the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome into "Kinnick North" again this year, they’ll need to do more planning than ever to do so.

The University of Minnesota is trying to tighten the borders for the Nov. 18 season-ending Iowa-Minnesota football game at the Metrodome. If you want a ticket for that game, you also have to buy one for the North Dakota State-Minnesota game Oct. 21 in the Dome. That two-game "Gopher Gold Package" sells for $65.

But that’s not the restrictive part. To buy that package, you must be a Gophers season-ticket holder, a University of Minnesota "M" Club member, a University of Minnesota Alumni Association member or a Minnesota resident.

Until Sept. 5, anyhow. Then you can be from anywhere and buy Iowa-Minnesota tickets for $55.

Minnesota wants the Metrodome to be just the Metrodome, not "Kinnick North."

Two years ago, Iowa fans accounted for about half the crowd of 64,719 in the Hawkeyes’ 29-27 squeaker. The ratio was similar in 2002 when Iowa football lore was made before 65,184 spectators. The Hawkeyes capped a perfect Big Ten season by clobbering the Gophers, 45-21. Iowa fans toppled the goal posts in the Dome’s south end zone. That still rankles Minnesotans.

"This place today was Kinnick with a roof on it," Iowa
tight end Dallas Clark marveled after the game.

Minnesota would like some sort of a homefield advantage for this year’s Iowa game. Thus, the new ticket policy.

"Our overall goal is to fill the lower level with Minnesota fans," school athletics ticket manager Dan Teschke said Friday. "We haven’t had any restrictions in the past. This is something we’ll try for this year, then adjust and tweak in the future."

How big is the Iowa game in Minnesota? Most tickets for this year’s Michigan-Minnesota game in the Dome are selling for $50. Most seats for the two other Big Ten games there, with Penn State and Indiana the visitors, are $45. That North Dakota State game is priced at $25.

None are likely to become sellouts. Iowa-Minnesota, no matter the roadblocks to fans who live south of Albert Lea, will fill the stadium.

"We’re not trying to make any big issue out of this," Teschke said. "We’re not saying we’re keeping out Hawkeye fans. We’re just doing due diligence, and trying to do what’s right for our fans and our team. Anyone who wants to go to the game will be able to unless they wait until the bitter end."

It’s not as if Hawkeye fans can’t find friends in Minnesota to buy tickets for them. It’s not as if Iowa graduates don’t live in that state.

"It’s hard to come up with a leak-proof, foolproof system," Teschke said. "By no means do we think this is an open-and-shut system. But we think it’s worth trying."

You know what could happen, though. If Iowa has a good season going and the Minnesota game has a bearing on the Hawkeyes’ winning the Big Ten title or getting a shot at a top-flight bowl game, Iowans will flood the Land of 10,000 Lakes. If Minnesota is having yet another of its Music City Bowltype seasons, some Gopher fans will sacrifice school loyalty in exchange for selling their tickets for a profit.

Not to put any ideas in anyone’s head, but if Hawkeye fans know North Dakota State fans in Moorhead, Minn., just across the Red River of the North from the campus in Fargo, maybe some deals can be struck.

Oh, North Dakota State has been allotted 5,000 tickets for its game at the Dome. You don’t suppose Minneapolis will become ‘‘Fargo East’’ that day, do you?

mike.hlas@gazettecommunications.com