Officials still confident about beer contract despite Mason comments

BY DI STAFF | SEPTEMBER 13, 2012 6:30 AM

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In light of comments made by UI President Sally Mason regarding the Anheuser-Busch contract, officials from the Partnership for Alcohol Safety said the UI has every intention of moving forward with the contract and believe that this 20-year partnership will continue in good faith.

Last week in an interview with “Iowa Press,” Mason said she had regrets concerning the renewal of the contract with Anheuser-Busch because of the amount of controversy it has caused on and around campus.

“You know, in retrospect, I probably would have done this a different way. If I had realized that it was going to raise the kinds of issues that it has at this point, I’m not sure that it’s worth the revenues that we’re getting to our Athletics Department,” Mason said in the interview. “So yeah, I probably would reconsider.”

The Hawkeye Athletics Department renewed its partnership with Anheuser-Busch and Learfield Communications Inc. this past summer. Learfield is contracted to pay the Athletics Department $114 million through 2026. The contract also requires $43,000 to be paid to the UI’s alcohol harm-reduction plan.

A new aspect to the renewal of the contract allowed for the use of the Tigerhawk logo in Anheuser-Busch advertisements, accompanied by a message about responsible drinking. Since the renewal of the contract, much controversy has surrounded it.

Mason said in a statement to The Daily Iowan that the UI has no current plans to alter the contract.

“The university is committed to meeting its obligation to honor the terms of the agreement,” she said in the statement. “The UI Athletics Department continues to work closely with Anheuser-Busch to ensure it is in compliance with all requirements regarding advertising that uses the Tigerhawk logo. Athletics at the UI are self-sustaining and do not receive taxpayer funding. The Athletics Department must continue to operate in an entrepreneurial manner, and contracts such as this are one method used both here and at other universities to achieve that goal.”

— by Cassidy Riley

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