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WHAT HAPPENED?

POSTED AT 12:00 AM ON Nov. 10, 2005 

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A lack of funding forced the IU Student Association to scrap its idea of free T-shirts for basketball season ticket holders, IUSA President Alex Shortle said.

Shortle said he signed a contract with IU Sports Properties last summer that intended to provide 5,000 T-shirts for football season ticket holders and 8,000 T-shirts for basketball season ticket holders. The cost of the shirts would be distributed into thirds, with IUSA, the IU Athletics Department and T.I.S., the distributor, each covering a portion of the bill, he said.

Shortle said he received a call about one week prior to basketball ticket distribution from Josh Baldwin, account executive at IU Sports Properties, telling him there wasn't sufficient funding to provide season ticket holders with T-shirts.

Pete Rhoda, IU Athletics media relations director, said the athletics department had no hand in the deal between IUSA and IU Sports Properties.

Bob Agramonte, general manager for IU Sports Properties, said the contract lacked details for how the cost of T-shirts would be paid.

"The contract that they had -- it didn't even cover all (the costs) of football," Agramonte said, adding the only reason football T-shirts were distributed was because the athletics department was able to provide funds with its increased football marketing push.

IU Sports Properties, a branch of Learfield Communications, holds all rights for IU athletics and serves as an intermediary between IU Athletics and businesses.

Baldwin said no one is to blame for the lack of shirts, adding the situation was "very complicated."

"We talked to lots of our current partners, but in the end we just didn't have the math," Baldwin said.

The proposal to give students T-shirts originated during last year's election when Vote For Pedro, Shortle's ticket, said giving students free T-shirts for football and basketball season ticket holders would help curb the students' displeasure with a mandatory athletics fee. The T-shirt plan cost $40,000, Shortle said.

Shortle was disappointed the plan unraveled.

"The whole goal was to get T-shirts to the students," Shortle said. "It's all I wanted to do. It's all IUSA wanted to do.

"It was a quick lesson in business, I guess. I was under the assumption that IU Sports Properties had better relations with the athletics department, meaning any deal we made with them was a deal with the athletics department. It just wasn't true. I needed to have (the athletics department) in that contract."

Junior and basketball season ticket holder Andrea Schaefer was unhappy she didn't receive a T-shirt.

"I think we should get them," Schaefer said. "We're paying more each year. Our fees are going towards athletic fees around campus."

Schaefer said she would be weary of future IUSA tickets proposing free T-shirts.

Shortle said he started conversations with T.I.S. about providing T-shirts for students next year and said he would not work with IU Sports Properties in the future. He said he also hopes the athletics department would spearhead such a campaign, saying it's something "they should already be doing."

The athletics department hasn't provided T-shirts for basketball season ticket holders for six years, Rhoda said.

 

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