Through Koch Industries, Charles and David Koch are funding a dozen college football games during the 2015-2016 season. This funding will allow them to have an increased presence at twelve major games this year. Koch-branded video equipment as well as Koch-themed giveaways will be regular occurrences at these college football games. However, as Nick Surgey writes, the Koch brothers’ history of buying influence and manipulating course content on college campuses provides an important context for understanding their newfound interest in college football.
The Koch brothers have previously sought to influence college curricula to suit their interests. At Florida State University, for example, Koch Industries funding hinged on the university ceding control over the economic program’s curriculum and hiring decisions to the Koch brothers. However this attempt to shape college education raised concerns about academic freedom and came to an end. Koch Industries’ new attempt to buy access to college campuses via athletics is something that needs to be closely monitored and checked if needed.
Although the corporate media have regularly reported on the Koch brothers’ efforts to promote their political agendas on college campuses, the corporate media have not covered Koch Industries’ move into NCAA football sponsorship. The Kochs will also sponsor men’s and women’s college basketball in 2015-2016.
Source: Nick Surgey, “Koch PR Games: College Football Brought to You by Koch Industries,” PR Watch, September 14, 2015, http://www.prwatch.org/news/2015/09/12929/college-football-brought-you-koch-industries.
Student Researcher: Isaiah Antoine (Sonoma State University)
Faculty Evaluator: Suzel-Bozada Deas (Sonoma State University)