Florida Atlantic has been playing in its new on-campus stadium for two years, but has had a devil of a time selling the naming rights. No more, as the Owls plan to announce later today they’ve finalized a deal with The Geo Group, one of the world’s largest operators of detention centers and for-profit prisons. — deadspin.com
Looks like it’s a 12 year
stretch deal, worth $6 Million.
Astonishingly, not everybody is happy. If identifying your school’s athletic field with criminal incarceration doesn’t leave a bad taste all by itself, it turns out that this particular corporate titan has some baggage — like dead prisoners leading to litigation and closed facilities, child abuse, sexual escapades between prisoners and staff, etc. Hell — we’ve all seen it dozens of times in Filipino Women In Prison flicks. (Well, some of us, anyway.)
Its reputation is so sordid that allegedly, one of its agents tried to delete replace a Wikipedia recounting of “controversies” with cheerful corporate happy-face pabulum:
As their naming rights deal became national news, a Wikipedia user named Abraham Cohen attacking the page, clearing the entire “controversies” section and replacing it with, essentially, a PR packet. As first noted by the Huffington Post, Abraham Cohen is a spokesperson for Geo Group, and the new material contained multiple instances of the pronouns “we” and “our.” — deadspin
Nice to see a corporation concerned with its on-line reputation, yes? Very progressive.
Nobody should be shocked by this. It’s been heading this way for years: when it comes to universities and sports there are no bottoms too low to descend beneath. Money is money, is their attitude, and the end justifies the means.
That’s assuming you see anything unseemly about this at all. University officials point out that Americans incarcerate a larger percentage of its population than any nation on earth, suggesting that this is a booming industry and success story, an inspirational tale for young people setting out to explore career options. Besides, by now, the NCAA should be very comfortable with prisons, given the number of athletes, administrators, and other employees who are alumni of both.
In fact, from one viewpoint, Geo is all about responsibility — isn’t that what imprisonment is all about? When it isn’t a racket to siphon off public funds into private hands, and to help a corrupt and manipulative legal system to disproportionately repress minority populations, that is.
Think of the promotional shticks this creates, too. Picture the football team and cheerleaders in uniforms designed as prison garb — everything from traditional black stripes to ghetto-style crack-revealing baggy pants Phat! Bad ass!!
Besides, as one commentator noted, it’s not like FAU is a real college with serious students anyway. Lighten up.