Ties between collegiate sports and gambling are typically forbidden. So when a new Iowa Lottery commercial featuring the "Iowa Fight Song" and the Tigerhawk logo began airing Jan. 12, it should have come as no surprise that it caused some heads to turn.
Iowa Athletics Director Gary Barta said the Lottery did nothing wrong when it used the logos and fight song in the commercial because his office had approved the use. He added, however, that his opinion recently had changed.
"If I had it to do over again, I'd have a different feeling about the use of the fight song," he said.
He said oversight of the approval could be attributed to his being new to the athletics-director position, which he assumed last August.
But Barta didn't condemn the Lottery's use of the fight song in the commercial.
The athletics director said the university has relationships with several corporate partners and the Lottery's ties with the school were different from other gambling businesses because of its status as a state agency.
"I'm comfortable with the relationship we have with the Lottery," he said. "We have a long-time relationship, and it's very good."
The commercials feature the fight song and logos to promote a drawing for a Hawkeye-themed Dodge Caliber to be given away during a Hawkeye men's basketball game March 3.
In a statement to The Daily Iowan, the Lottery indicated that previous promotions featuring two motorcycles and a car outfitted with university colors and logos had taken place in the past two years. According to the statement, no complaints were received during those promotions.
Concerns have arisen over the Hawkeye-themed nature of the commercials because college students are especially susceptible to gambling addiction. But according to the Lottery's statement, fewer than 5 percent of those who entered into the promotions were in their 20s.
Regent Robert Downer echoed the Lottery's statement, saying the idea the promotional campaign would encourage students to gamble was "a bit of a stretch."
And for UI senior Dylan Lampe, that's true.
"That kind of marketing doesn't have any effect on me," he said.
But UI junior Paul Guernsey said the university affiliation might persuade him to play.
"If I did play [the Lottery], it would make me buy that ticket over another one," he said. "But I don't play, anyway."
Iowa Lottery's Hawkeye-affiliated promotion
- One of 10 entrants who receive tickets to the Hawkeye men's basketball game March 3 will win the Lottery's promotion and the Hawkeye-themed Dodge Caliber.
- In 2005 and 2006, the lottery received more than 434,000 entries for its promotions that gave away motorcycles outfitted with Iowa and Iowa State University colors and logos.