Iowa suspends raffle promotion for free tuition

Thursday July 31st, 2014

The University of Iowa temporarily suspended a promotion saying it would raffle off free tuition to five students who bought season tickets to football games because of legal concerns.

Season tickets for Iowa football games can cost as much as $175. The temporary suspension of the promotion comes after the Des Moines Register raised questions about the initiative's legality. From the Register

David Werning, spokesman for the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals, said Wednesday that the promotion raised "a lot of issues." Werning said the university has a license to hold gambling contests as a "social and charitable" organization. However, it must abide by laws regulating raffles, he said.

The winners were to only receive two semesters (Fall 2014 and Spring 2015) worth of tuition at the in-state rate (about $8,000) and the prize did not include an estimated $9,600 worth of room and board or the cost of books.

MoreIn wide-open Big Ten West, Iowa has reasons for optimism

The school also offered a one away-game viewing party inside the press box at Kinnick Stadium, up to $500 in books for one student, and $1,000 Hy-Vee gift cards for four students in efforts to get more students to attend games.

"I have suspended the promotion temporarily as we determine how to make sure that this promotion is in complete compliance," Iowa athletic director Gary Barta said via The Des Moines Register. "In the end, our goal is to do everything possible to make sure that the student experience at Hawkeye football games is as fun and exciting as possible."

- Scooby Axson

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