Friday, April 20, 2018

Penn State loses one sponsor, others could follow

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — State Farm is pulling its ads from Penn State football broadcasts, while General Motors is reconsidering its sponsorship deal and Wall Street is threatening to downgrade the school's credit rating, suggesting the price of the sexual abuse scandal could go beyond the $60 million fine and other penalties imposed by the NCAA.

Bloomington, Ill.-based State Farm said it had been reviewing its connection to Penn State since the arrest of retired assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky last November. The insurance company said it will pull ads from broadcasts of Nittany Lions home games but continue to advertise during Penn State's away contests.

"We will not directly support Penn State football this year," State Farm spokesman Dave Phillips said Tuesday. "We just feel it was the best decision."

State Farm had no immediate information on how much money is at stake.

The NCAA imposed unprecedented sanctions against Penn State on Monday, including the fine, a four-year bowl ban and a sharp reduction in the number of football scholarships it may offer.

The governing body also erased 14 years of victories, wiping out 111 of coach Joe Paterno's wins and stripping him of his standing as the most successful coach in the history of big-time college football.

NCAA president Mark Emmert said he relied on a report by former FBI Director Louis Freeh, who found that Paterno and three top officials concealed child sexual abuse allegations against Sandusky more than a decade ago to protect the school and its powerful football program.

With Penn State's once-sterling reputation in tatters, the university could face a loss of sponsors unwilling to have their brands linked to scandal, said Kevin Adler, founder of Chicago-based Engage Marketing Inc.

Adler said he would advise current sponsors to pull out of their deals with Penn State, adding that most contracts have morality clauses giving advertisers an out.

"I think the public perception is pretty clear and definitive at this point. That brand is damaged beyond the point of short-term repair. It is the sponsorship partner's obligation first and foremost to look after the health of their own brand," Adler said. "None of the sponsors owe Penn State anything."

So far, though, Penn State appears to be hanging on.

GM spokesman Pat Morrissey said the automaker is reviewing its sponsorship but has not made a decision.

Other sponsors said they plan to stick with Penn State, including Purchase, N.Y.-based PepsiCo Inc., Pittsburgh-based PNC bank and Pennsylvania's largest health insurer, Highmark Inc.

Comments
Clearwater Council member Bob Cundiff again questions fluoride

Clearwater Council member Bob Cundiff again questions fluoride

CLEARWATER — City Council member Bob Cundiff again diverged from his four colleagues on one of Tampa Bay's most sensitive subjects: fluoride.On Thursday, the City Council voted 4-1 to pay KAT Construction $552,000 to build fluori...
Updated: 23 minutes ago
Rays journal: Miller back from DL, KK surgery successful

Rays journal: Miller back from DL, KK surgery successful

ST. PETERSBURG — For a change, the physically snake-bitten Rays got some vigor, versatility and even a veteran presence back in their lineup  when INF Brad Miller was reinstated from the 10-day disabled list.To make room, they DFA'd INF/OF...
Updated: 24 minutes ago
Really, it’s time to look ahead

Really, it’s time to look ahead

BRANDON — Three things that popped into my head as the Lightning and Devils get ready to play Game 5 this afternoon at Amalie Arena.1. I’m going to do something that a hockey team in the playoffs would never do, not in a million years.I’m going to ta...
Updated: 1 hour ago
St. Pete says discharge never reached the bay. Its own report says otherwise.

St. Pete says discharge never reached the bay. Its own report says otherwise.

ST. PETERSBURG — The city said not one of the 266,000 gallons of reclaimed water released on Jan. 18 reached Tampa Bay.There was no mention of the waste released from the Northeast Water Reclamation Facility ever reaching the bay in the city’s notice...
Updated: 1 hour ago
DOJ looks into how AT&T, Verizon handle defecting customers

DOJ looks into how AT&T, Verizon handle defecting customers

The Justice Department has opened an antitrust investigation into whether AT&T and Verizon and a standards-setting group worked together to hinder consumers from easily switching wireless carriers
Updated: 1 hour ago
LeBron James, Cavs show unity with coordinated suits

LeBron James, Cavs show unity with coordinated suits

The Cavaliers, with an assist from a New York-based designer, made their first big play Friday night just by entering the arena. As they paraded into Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis before Game 3 of their playoff series with the Pacers, the C...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Tampa Bay students voice opinions on gun laws during school walkouts

Tampa Bay students voice opinions on gun laws during school walkouts

Nicole Leary and Taylor Redington stood outside St. Petersburg High School on Friday morning with parents and protesters who had gathered with bullhorns and signs. In a few minutes they would lead about 70 students on a walk to City Hall, joining oth...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Lobbyist tied to condo leased by EPA chief retires from firm

The fossil-fuels lobbyist tied to the bargain-priced Capitol Hill condo leased by Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt is taking early retirement as a result of the scandal
Updated: 1 hour ago
Ex-FBI deputy director ‘disappointed’ in Comey comments

Ex-FBI deputy director ‘disappointed’ in Comey comments

WASHINGTON — Andrew McCabe, the former FBI deputy director, is "very upset and disappointed" by comments made by his former boss James Comey that contradict his account of a disclosure to the news media, McCabe’s lawyer said Friday. "Andy has at all ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
2 more killed in Nicaragua social security protests: reports

2 more killed in Nicaragua social security protests: reports

Two university student protesters have been killed in Nicaragua in clashes over a social security reform pushed by President Daniel Ortega's government, according to independent media reports
Updated: 2 hours ago