Ethics: Advisory Opinion No. 1998-11

Advisory Opinion No. 1998-11
Advisory Opinion No. 1998-11

University of Connecticut Basketball Coach’s Outside Contract
With Company Licensed To Use Husky Logo

University of Connecticut Men’s Basketball Coach Jim Calhoun has asked whether it is permissible, under the Code of Ethics for Public Officials, for him to enter into a contract to sell a bulk quantity of his basketball instructional videotape to a company known as Husky Chips and Salsa (HCS). HCS is a licensee of the University and is permitted to utilize the Husky logo on its packaging and for other purposes in connection with the sale and marketing of its products. HCS pays the University a royalty for each bag of chips and jar of salsa it sells. HCS plans to purchase the videotapes and package them with their product as part of a sales promotion, i.e. give away a sample of the product with each videotape purchase.

In prior Advisory Opinions, the Commission held that it would be a use of office, in violation of Conn. Gen. Stat. 1-84(c), for a state employee to use his state title in a promotional brochure for his private outside business. See, State Ethics Commission Advisory Opinion No. 81-5, 42 CLJ 49, p.14 (6/2/81). Furthermore, the Commission has held that use of one’s state title to promote one’s outside employment, including a paid promotion for an unrelated third party, would be an impermissible use of state position. Advisory Opinion No. 97-14, 59 CLJ 1, p. 4D (07/01/97). In this case, however, Coach Calhoun is not offering the use of his state position or the University Husky logo in order to help an unrelated third party promote its product. In fact, his videotape does not make reference to the University or his status as its coach. Rather, HCS, in compliance with its licensing agreement with the University, already has permission to use the Husky logo regardless of any affiliation with Coach Calhoun. Therefore, since he is not using his state position in order to make available the Husky logo to the outside party in its marketing plan, as long as the licensing agreement between HCS and UCONN is in effect, Coach Calhoun may, under the Code of Ethics for Public Officials, enter into the contemplated contract with HCS.

By order of the Commission,

Stanley Burdick

Content Last Modified on 9/7/2005 8:02:27 AM