Thursday, February 08, 2007

UI Held Hostage Day 383 - Feb. 8

Feb. 8, 10:25 a.m.

Big News: The big news today is that we may finally be getting through to the UI Administration and Athletic Program (and the Press-Citizen) that getting in bed with gambling interests isn't really all that cool -- notwithstanding the UI's and Press-Citizen's view that there's "nothing unseemly" about "two state institutions working together for each others' benefit."
Editorial, "Nothing wrong with UI/Lottery TV commercials," Iowa City Press-Citizen, February 5, 2007. (And see my commentary on the editorial, Nicholas Johnson, "The analytically bizarre editorial about athletics and gambling," in "UI Held Hostage Day 381 - Feb. 6," February 6, 2007.)

The NCAA thinks it's not only "unseemly" it is an out-and-out violation of NCAA standards. The NCAA has Advertising and Promotional Standards (rev. Nov. 2006) that contain some general prohibitions and then go on to find as specifically impermissible any advertising relationships between NCAA programs and "Organizations or companies primarily involved in gambling or gaming business activities (e.g., publications, Web sites, products, services). This includes horse/dog racing tracks, off-track betting and state-run lotteries."

As is often the case with large institutions (corporations, military and governmetal agencies -- including public universities), few in responsible positions seem to care all that much about unseemly (and even illegal) practicies prior to their being publicized -- certainly not enough to do pre-emptive MBWA ("management by walking around"), or having effective management information reporting systems, to find out what's going on prior to being caught. Following the publicity there tend to be public professions of shock and great rectitude about the high standards of the institution, meetings are held, task forces are appointed, and the most junior person available is said to be the one responsible for this otherwise inexplicable lapse, and promptly fired.

Now "which would be worse, in a way,"* that the UI's Interim President, Athletic Director, and football coach (a) notwithstanding their responsibilities for such matters failed to even bother to check the NCAA regulations and were simply ignorant of the standards their positions required them to uphold (even though, in the judgment of many of us, avoiding athletic-gambling partnerships would seem to be a no-brainer, with or without NCAA regulations), or that (b) they were fully responsible and well informed of every aspect of NCAA standards and simply chose to deliberately violate those having to do with gambling because of the revenue those partnerships bring to the University and its athletic program?

[* The footnote for "Which would be worse, in a way?" The line was used by UC Berkeley professor Michael Rogan in the CBS "60 Minutes" segment called "Ronald Reagan the Movie," December 15, 1985 (also the title of Professor Rogan's paper and presentation). President Reagan had referred in speeches to an event from a fictional film as if it really had occurred. The reporter asked Professor Rogan whether he thought the President knew he was misrepresenting history or whether Reagan thought the event actually had occurred. Rogan paused, then responded, before addressing the question, "Which would be worse, in a way?"]

Although it's the Iowa Lottery commercial that has triggered the current criticism, I was pleased to read that the partnership with the Riverside Gambling Casino, of which I have long complained, is to be reviewed as well.

Read Tom Witosky's story in this morning's Des Moines Register, linked below -- but first, watch the commercial that's triggered today's meeting of the Presidential Committee on Athletics. It will make you proud to be a Hawkeye!

Iowa Hawkeye Dodge Caliber - Iowa Lottery


Over the past few months in addition to a number of blog entries about gambling in general, I have written about the University's ties to gambling in particular.

Here are three of the lenthier of such essays:

Nicholas Johnson, "UI Football Promoting Gambling?" September 16, 2006

Nicholas Johnson, "Gambling on the Hawkeyes; Wanna Bet? NCAA to Legalize, Organize, Profitize Intercollegiate Sports Betting?" in "UI President Search Held Hostage Day 66 - Jan. 21," January 21, 2007

Nicholas Johnson, "The analytically bizarre editorial about athletics and gambling," in UI Held Hostage Day 381 - Feb. 6," February 6, 2007

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[Note: If you're new to this blog, and interested in the whole UI President Search story, these blog entries begin with Nicholas Johnson, "UI President Search I," November 18, 2006. Wondering where the "UI Held Hostage" came from? Click here. (As of January 25 the count has run from January 21, 2006, rather than last November.) For any given entry, links to the prior 10 will be found in the left-most column. Going directly to will take you to the latest. Each contains links to the full text of virtually all known media stories and commentary, including mine, since the last blog entry. Together they represent what The Chronicle of Higher Education has called "one of the most comprehensive analyses of the controversy." The last time there was an entry containing the summary of prior entries' commentary (with the heading "This Blog's Focus on Regents' Presidential Search") is Nicholas Johnson, "UI President Search XIII -- Last Week," December 11, 2006. My early proposed solution to the conflict is provided in Nicholas Johnson, "UI President Search VII: The Answer," November 26, 2006. And the fullest collection of basic documents related to the search is contained in Nicholas Johnson, "UI President Search - Dec. 21-25," December 21, 2006 (and updated thereafter), at the bottom of that blog entry under "References". A Blog Index of entries on all subjects since June 2006 is also available. And note that if you know (or can guess at) a word to search on, the "Blogger" bar near the top of your browser has a blank, followed by "SEARCH THIS BLOG," that enables you to search all entries in this Blog since June 2006.]

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Media Stories and Commentary

Tom Witosky, "U of I to review sports-gambling links; Car-giveaway ad spotlights whether schools should promote state lottery, take casino sponsorship dollars," Des Moines Register, February 8, 2007

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