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Lottery winners to donate $3 million for football stadium at son’s HS — if they paint the visiting locker room pink

Dec 19, 2012, 9:00 AM EDT

pinklockerroom Getty Images

You may have heard by now that Iowa lottery winners Brian and Mary Lohse are tossing some of their new-found wealth toward their son’s high school — a noble gesture for sure. But what’s drawing attention is the nature of that donation.

Brian and Mary Lohse, the couple that won a $202 million Powerball jackpot in September, said they will give $3 million toward a new football stadium at Bondurant-Farrar High School, but with a catch: the construction has to be complete by 2014, and the visiting locker room has to be painted pink. Timothy Meinch of the Des Moines Register:

The idea was inspired by the University of Iowa, which has done the same with its visiting locker room.

“I was sort of half joking and half not I suppose, but they said they’d do it,” Mary Lohse said. “It’s supposed to put them in a certain soft frame of mind. … It will certainly give all the players something to talk about.”

Something to talk about indeed. The Lohses may not know what a can of worms they’ve opened with this.

The University of Iowa has had a pink visiting locker room for several years. It was the brainchild of former Iowa football coach Hayden Fry, a psychology major who thought that painting the shower room pink would have a calming effect on the opposition. (Don’t they take showers after the game? Makes no sense …). But the university took it a step further during a 2004 renovation on Kinnick Stadium, and painted the entire locker room pink (later claiming, rather lamely, that it was the only color paint they had on hand).

That caused a pretty big controversy. Some students and professors protested the move, claiming that the color played to negative stereotypes about women and homosexuals, and demeaned opponents. One was a visiting professor who received death threats from the pro-pink locker room faction.

“I want the locker room gone,” law school professor Jill Gaulding told a university committee studying the athletic department’s compliance with NCAA standards, including gender equity.

The locker room remains pink today, because at many colleges, tradition always trumps common sense. Sheriff Joe Arpaio approves. Oh, Iowa’s home record this season? 2-5.

But what happens at a high school, where security isn’t as strict, and players are less mature? What could possibly go wrong with a visiting team left to their own devices in a pink locker room? Mary Lohse just may have bought her son’s school a generous helping of trouble.

  1. alligatorsnapper - Dec 19, 2012 at 12:19 PM

    For a long time those in advertising have known that certain colors (such as orange) stimulate a buying impulse. The color known as “Pepto Bismol pink” has been noted to calm violent inmates in federal and state care. Less agressive opponents would probably yield losses for the opponents in this very violent sport of football. I wish I had less violent opponents during my playing days! I am sure this was the idea in mind, not some sexist, or other motive.

  2. skids003 - Dec 19, 2012 at 12:48 PM

    Steroetypes? Damn, you can’t do or say anything any more without offending some idiot.