Stadium Named for Chick-fil-A? It Nearly Happened in Florida
It hasn’t been a good year for Florida Atlantic University.
The public university has made headlines, and for all the wrong reasons. First, FAU President Mary Jane Saunders was accused by a student of hitting her with her car and leaving the scene of the accident, then the university was at the center of a national debate when it was in talks with the GEO Group, the world’s largest for-profit prison operator, to name the school’s new football stadium after the company. The GEO Group eventually called off the $6 million deal.
It turns out now that FAU almost named its stadium after an equally controversial company - fried-chicken chain Chick-fil-A.
Recently fired FAU Athletic Director Craig Angelos told the Sunshine State News that the university almost strikes a deal with the anti-gay company.
With $45 million in debt, "We had to make a lot of sacrifices and mortgage the athletic department to make the stadium a reality," Angelos said.
He went on to explain how they almost close a deal with a local car dealer, but STN writes that "higher-ups in the school’s chain of command wanted to hold off for a better deal with fast-food chain Chick-fil-A or, indeed, the GEO Group. After being put on hold, the automotive chain’s interest cooled, and FAU ultimately landed GEO, whose chairman and CEO is an FAU alumn and former chairman of the university’s board of trustees."
Chick-fil-A was at the center of a national made storm last summer when company COO Dan Cathy admitted to funneling millions of dollars to the company’s charitable arm in order to fund several anti-gay organizations.
The news caused an uproar nationwide, with people and politicians voicing their support for the conservative values the company stood by, and others siding with LGBT equality.
Gawker reports that FAU spokeswoman Lisa Metcalf declined to confirm Angelos story, and limited herself to say that, "Craig Angelos is no longer employed at FAU," via email.
"If he is stating these conversations took place, then you will need to speak with him," she added.
Chick-fil-A is known for sponsoring NCAA related events , like opening-weekend football game and The Mid-Major Postseason Game Formerly Known as The Peach Bowl.