Iowa Hawkeyes tuition raffle breaks state laws, stopped by university


An Iowa Hawkeyes tuition raffle giving students a chance at a free year of school after purchasing season tickets has been stopped by the university amid concern over its legality.

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University of Iowa athletic director Gary Barta released a statement after shutting down the raffle on Wednesday afternoon (via The Des Moines Register).

"“This afternoon we learned of concerns related to a student football promotion,” UI Athletic Director Gary Barta said in a prepared statement. “A question has been raised whether the promotion is compliant with state raffle laws. I have suspended the promotion temporarily as we determine how to make sure that this promotion is in complete compliance. In the end, our goal is to do everything possible to make sure that that the student experience at Hawkeye football games is as fun and exciting as possible.”"

The raffle was going to award five students that purchased football season tickets with free tuition, worth approximately $8,000. Other various prizes were under $1,000.

There’s at least a couple of pitches that the U of I whiffed on while having this raffle. The DMR got ahold of Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals spokesman David Werning who said that while UI does have a license to have a charitable raffle, the law says it can’t be purchased with credit cards and each ticket must be the same amount. That wasn’t the case in this situation.

"For one thing, Werning said, state law says charitable raffle tickets may only be purchased with cash. They may not be purchased with credit cards. The UI website invites students to buy their season tickets online. Werning said his agency will ask the university how that squares with the cash-only rule.State law also says that all tickets for a charitable raffle must be the same price. The Hawkeye contest appears to give students an option of spending $150 or $175, depending on whether they want six or seven games to be included in their package, Werning said."

I wouldn’t go to the level that this falls under the gambling category. Comparing the raffle to a lottery and  this being Hawkeye athletics trying to fill up their stadium is quite the assumption. But how something like this could reach prominence, going through an entire university and not being discovered until a newspaper pokes around, is pretty embarrassing.

Only this could be more embarrassing.