Florida Stadium to Be Renamed— After Prison Firm

GEO Group's boss is alumnus of Florida Atlantic

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 20, 2013 1:54 PM CST

(Newser) – A 29,000-seat university stadium in Boca Raton, Florida, will soon boast the name of a private prison company—a move that has critics shaking their heads, the New York Times reports. GEO Group "is a company whose record is marred by human rights abuses, by lawsuits, by unnecessary deaths," says one social justice activist. "It’s like calling something Blackwater Stadium." But Florida Atlantic University's president says GEO is "a wonderful company" with strong ties to the school.

Its chairman, George Zoley, has a pair of Florida Atlantic degrees. Still, his good intentions may be misplaced, says an expert on sports marketing. With the $6 million deal for naming rights, Zoley is "mixing his philanthropic interest with a marketing strategy that doesn’t make any sense. ... Now, across the country, they’re going to say that Florida Atlantic can change its uniforms to stripes."

A file photo of detainees inside a holding cell at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, Wash. The facility is operated by the GEO Group.
A file photo of detainees inside a holding cell at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, Wash. The facility is operated by the GEO Group.   (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
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