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Iowa's free tuition program suspended because of state raffle law concerns

Iowa's offer of free tuition to five students who bought football season tickets may be too good to be true.

The program was suspended Wednesday evening as it's unclear if the promotion complies with state raffle laws.

"I have suspended the promotion temporarily as we determine how to make sure that this promotion is in complete compliance," Iowa athletic director Gary Barta said in a statement. "In the end, our goal is to do everything possible to make sure that the student experience at Hawkeye football games is as fun and exciting as possible."

The deadline for students to purchase season tickets was Friday, and in an attempt to boost sales, the school said five students who purchased season tickets would be eligible to win free tuition.

From the Des Moines Register:

David Werning, spokesman for the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals, said Wednesday that the promotion raised "a lot of issues." Werning said the university has a license to hold gambling contests as a "social and charitable" organization. However, it must abide by laws regulating raffles, he said.

For one thing, state law says charitable raffle tickets may only be bought with cash, Werning said. They may not be purchased with credit cards.

The credit card issue may be a big hurdle, as many ticket sales are through Iowa's online ticketing system.

There's another compliance issue as well. Iowa has six and seven-game ticket packages that obviously have different price points. According to Iowa state law, all entries must be the same price.

Over the past two seasons, Iowa's student ticket base has fallen from 10,000 to 7,000. In addition to the free tuition promotion, the school also said it would add special gameday events for students.

For more Iowa news, visit Hawkeye Report.

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Nick Bromberg is the assistant editor of Dr. Saturday on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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