The University of Iowa athletic department approved a four-year agreement with Anheuser-Busch licensing Iowa’s tigerhawk logo for use on retail displays and other items sold by Busch.
According to the agreement the Tigerhawk may appear alongside Busch brand logos (Budweiser, Michelob, Busch, and Natural Lite) with Iowa’s approval and the message “Responsibility Matters.”
The U of I has a history of closely guarding its trademarks, and their uses have made headlines when they appear on controversial items. In 2009, Iowa joined more than a dozen universities in pressuring Anheuser-Busch to stop the sale of Bud Light “fan cans” decorated with school colors. The universities said the cans infringed on trademarks and undermined campaigns to reduce dangerous drinking.
“We are not pleased,” a U of I spokesman said two years ago of the colorful Bud Light cans, which proved hot sellers in college towns like Iowa City and Ames before being discontinued.
Seven Big Ten Conference schools reached Thursday by The Des Moines Register said they had no sponsorships with companies that sell alcohol: Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Ohio State and Purdue. An eighth school, Illinois, said its only sponsorship with an alcohol company is the annual “Busch Braggin’ Rights” men’s basketball game against the University of Missouri. Indiana University, Penn State University and the University of Wisconsin could not be reached.
University of Iowa President, Sally Mason, claims all proceeds from the beer deal will fund the university’s alcohol harm reduction plan, launched in 2010 to reduce binge drinking. However, Mason refused to divulge how much money the University will receive. Financial details and copies of the sponsorship agreement are not available because officials at the taxpayer-funded university contend the contract is not a public record.
Meanwhile, the University is employing and anti-binge drinking initiative requiring more students to take Friday classes, parental interventions, lectures on house parties, the prohibition against alcohol on campus with notable exceptions for the club space at Carver-Hawkeye arena, the skyboxes at Kinnick Stadium and in certain university-owned parking ares on football Saturdays.