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No insurance contract was in place for ETSU $20,000 contest

Rex Barber • Jan 25, 2012 at 10:53 PM

American Hole ‘n One, Inc., the insurance company East Tennessee State University said invalidated a $20,000 prize for one of its students earlier this week, was in fact not responsible for insuring that promotion.

According to ETSU, an employee knew Tuesday that the insurer was not underwriting the game but did not tell anyone otherwise, leading to the company’s being erroneously named as the insurer in news reports and in a university news release.

The promotion in which Jamaal Hundley shot a layup, a free throw, a 3-pointer and a half-court shot for a $20,000 prize or a car during the ETSU men’s basketball game against Belmont Monday night, was not insured by any company.

ETSU athletic spokesman Michael White said the university was under every impression American Hole ‘n One was underwriting the contest. The company has provided promotion insurance to the school for several years; however, due to a recent oversight on ETSU’s part, the contract was not renewed this year, White said.

According to White, on Tuesday, ETSU athletics marketing employee Sara Hacker called American Hole ‘n One to see if they had a record of the school’s contract, because she could not find it. The company said the contract had not been renewed. Hacker did not convey this information to university leadership, White said.

“We’ve had a great relationship with American Hole ‘n One,” White said Wednesday evening after learning the contract with the insurer was not in place. “They do a great job at what they do, and there was no intention from ETSU to put them in a bad light.”

According to White, the employee responsible for ensuring contracts like the one with American Hole ‘n One left the university for another job this past fall. Somehow, the contract was not renewed, White said.

The Johnson City Press learned that no contract existed with American Hole ‘n One after speaking to someone with the company on Wednesday. The company CEO said the company received an email from someone who said they would never do business with the company again based on reports they had denied the claim. There was never a claim filed with the company.

White said the school hoped to renew the contract with American Hole ‘n One as soon as possible. White said the school did not want to make the insurer out to be the bad guy.

Hundley made the baskets in the promotion Monday. For the final half-court shot his foot was shown clearly over the line in video footage. According to the rules under the prior contract, the contract ETSU thought was in place, that would nullify the shot.

Despite the shot’s not counting, according to ETSU’s understanding of the verification process included in the contract that was no longer in place, the school and promotion sponsors Johnson City Honda and Mountain States Health Alliance gave Hundley $20,000 for making the shots anyway. This decision was made based on inaccurate information because American Hole ‘n One was not responsible for insuring the competition.

ETSU Athletics Director Dave Mullins said he apologized to American Hole ‘n One. He said the university has a long history of working with the company and they are a great company to work with.

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