Gophers stadium efforts hit snag

Things are heating up in Gopherland. Fundraising efforts for a new football stadium have hit a snag. Meanwhile, authorities announced fatigue was the cause of Herb Brooks' death, NCAA women's hoops tickets are on sale, and the Gophers tennis team is forced to cancel a tournament because of Hurricane Isabel.

The Minnesota Gophers football team is off to a great start. The fundraising efforts for a new Gophers football stadium, however, is not.

University of Minnesota President Robert Bruininks acknowledged in a Star Tribune article that the fundraising campaign for a new football stadium has gotten off to a "terrible" start. He said Tuesday that negotiations between the school and donor T. Denny Sanford must come to a "prompt" conclusion.

Sanford, a 1958 U of M graduate and banker from Sioux Falls, S.D., said last week his proposed $35 million contribution to an on-campus stadium would come only after the facility is completely built.

However, contributions for such a project usually come before the project is started. The University has not had much success raising the rest of the $100-$150 million it could cost to build the stadium.

Sanford told the Minnesota Daily Tuesday: "I think both sides want this to happen."

But talking in the Star Tribune on the status of negotiations, Bruininks said, "I don't know if I'm optimistic. I'll be honest with you, this is a terrible way to start a [fundraising] campaign. But it's not of my choosing. These issues are typically negotiated in private, not in public newspapers."

FATIGUE CAUSED BROOKS CRASH, REPORT SAYS

There wasn't much that could stop Herb Brooks from succeeding, but it was fatigue that likely caused the crash that claimed his life last month, authorities announced Tuesday.

Brooks had spent the weekend at a fund-raising event in the Biwabik, Minn., area, playing golf, and visiting with friends and fans before leaving to head back to the Twin Cities to catch a plane. But on that trip back his 2002 Toyota Sienna minivan swerved off the road and rolled, ejecting Brooks from the vehicle, causing his death by traumatic injury. The accident occurred near Forest Lake. Brooks was not wearing his seat belt, authorities said.

Brooks coached the Minnesota Gophers hockey team to three national titles in the 1970s, the U.S. Olympic team to the Gold Medal in 1980 and the U.S. Olympic team to a silver medal in 2002. He also served as a consultant and scout for numerous NHL teams.

His death is still being felt and is hard to swallow in hockey circles. Mike Taylor, a Gophers hockey recruit from the Academy of Holy Angels who now plays for the Green Bay Gamblers of the USHL, said Brooks' death was a shock.

"A lot of us who are playing juniors right now were too young to remember him at the U and coaching the 1980 Olympic team, but we all know what he meant to the sport of hockey and what he did," said Taylor. "He is someone who we all respected and knew helped the sport of hockey greatly."

NCAA WOMEN'S BASKETBALL TICKETS ON SALE

Tickets for the first and second rounds of the 2004 NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament held at Williams Arena on the campus of the University of Minnesota are now on sale to the general public. The tournament dates are Sunday, March 21 and Tuesday, March 23, with game times to be announced by the NCAA the week of the games. If Minnesota secures a 2004 NCAA Tournament berth, the Golden Gophers will play at home in Williams Arena.

Tickets are available at the Golden Gopher Ticket Office in Mariucci Arena, Monday-Friday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Orders will also be taken by phone at 612-624-8080 or outside the metro area, 1-800-U-GOPHER, as well as on the Minnesota Athletics' website: www.gophersports.com

WOMEN'S TENNIS TOURNAMENT CANCELED DUE TO HURRICANE ISABEL

Due to the expectation of severe inclement weather from approaching Hurricane Isabel, William and Mary has canceled all of its home athletic events, including the W&M Invitational Women's Tennis Tournament. The Golden Gopher women's tennis team was scheduled to participate in the event Friday-Sunday, Sept. 19-21, in Williamsburg, Va. The tournament will not be rescheduled.

Minnesota will next be in action at the All-American Championship in Los Angeles, Calif., Oct. 6-12.

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