In a Time Saving Effort, Prison Takes Over College Football Stadium

No, that’s not an Onion headline, Florida Atlantic College will make touchdowns in lockdown.

No, that’s not an Onion headline, Florida Atlantic College will make touchdowns in lockdown.

Education these days is constantly facing cutbacks, even as the price of education continues to rise without mercy. One way that school districts and universities have tried to make up the deficit is by selling advertising space and sponsorships on everything from their buildings to their school buses (it’s surely only a matter of time before they’re forced to sell advertising space on their bathroom doors to Taco Bell). Some of the biggest deals come from university stadium sponsorships, where college sports are such a deep and hallowed tradition that fans have learned to live with naming their battlefield of honor such things as the KFC Yum! Center or Littlejohn Coliseum. Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton may have created a new low for stadium sponsorships with their choice, however: they’ve sold the naming rights of their football stadium to The GEO Group, “the world’s leading provider of correctional, detention and community reentry services” – also known as “prisons.”

Now, GEO Group sounds like an innocent name for a company – it’s not like they’re naming the field “The International House of Hoosegows Stadium” or “Pokies International Field” – but if you know what they do, it does feel that we’ve seriously lowered our standards in terms of what’s acceptable in the sporting world. And that level is already pretty low, since the game on the field involves more concussions and head injuries than an Altamont reunion show. Frankly, there are really only two situations where letting a prison management company name a sports complex is viable: if it’s a high school stadium (since going to high school feels like prison for most kids anyway), or if it’s at Penn State.

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