No tobacco giveaways, no rodeo.
That's what Montana State University officials found out when their college was dropped as the site for next year's College National Finals Rodeo. School officials had balked at allowing tobacco sponsors to pass out free chewing tobacco at the event."I never thought this would be a deal-busting issue," said Michael Malone, MSU president. "We would like very much to have the CNFR here."
National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association representatives voted unanimously Thursday to look for another rodeo location after Malone said the university wouldn't permit samples of Skoal and Copenhagen to be given out.
"I don't know of a university in the country that would allow tobacco to be handed out at one of their events," said Allen Yarnell, vice president for student affairs at MSU.
Tobacco companies Copenhagen and Skoal give about $200,000 annually in college scholarships to rodeo athletes. Tim Corfield, the rodeo association's commissioner, said the CNFR wasn't willing to abandon its long relationship with U.S. Tobacco.
"I'm absolutely sick to my stomach," he said. "We feel strongly that this is where the rodeo needs to be. We were excited about coming back."
However, "we felt it would be dishonorable to turn our back on them (tobacco) at this point," Corfield said.