Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Assistant Coach Hummers: Not a Sponsorship Deal

A story broken on the GOP3.COM blog back on August 17 outlined the fact that the Athletic Department has leased several Hummers for the personal use of assistant coaches.

Brandon Henak, who wrote the story, noted the irony of Marquette claiming to have switched from Alterra Coffee to Stone Creek Coffee for “social justice” reasons. The “social justice” (read: leftist) crowd hates sport utility vehicles.

The story has been revived during the last few days on Scout.com and Rivals.com, Marquette sports discussion boards.

Discussion has revolved around the issue of whether this is a “sponsorship” deal, with Marquette getting the Hummers not for cash payment but for other consideration (tickets that can be used by the sponsor as premiums, for example).

We just talked to Mike Broeker, Assistant Athletics Director for Media Relations, and he confirms that it is not a sponsorship deal. Rather, it is a perquisite for assistant coaches written into their contracts, and paid for out of Marquette funds.

Broeker confirmed that the Hummers are leased from Bergstrom Hummer, owned by John F. Bergstrom, Chairman of the Board of Trustees. Broeker could not discuss how much Marquette pays for the leased vehicles. Bergstrom has been generous with Marquette, and there has been considerable speculation that Marquette gets a deep discount.

Broeker did offer one criticism of the original blog post on the subject. The Hummers are not in fact yellow, contrary to what Brandon Henak posted on GOP3.COM (which we repeated). The photo of the yellow Hummer on GOP3.COM was, according to Broeker, a stock photo.

Broeker argues with the notion that Hummers are huge gas guzzlers. He says they are a “medium sized SUV” that gets good gas milage for an SUV. We don’t in fact particularly care, since we think people should be entirely free to drive SUVs if they are willing to pay for the gas. But if the self-righteous rhetoric about “social justice” that Marquette uses when it’s convenient actually means anything, coaches would be given hybrid autos.

But that would not be much of a perq, would it?

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