Editorial: Portnoy should be out of bowl festivities

The MAC, NIU and Arizona Bowl are expected to take a stand regarding the allegations.

Trigger Warning: This editorial contains mentions of sexual violence.

College football bowl season is right around the corner. While most eyes are on who the top four teams in the country will be, the Northern Star editorial board is more focused on where Huskie football could land during the 2021 bowling season.

While any opportunity for Huskie Athletics to compete on a national stage is great for the university, a possible landing spot has been marred due to a Business Insider article accusing Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy of having “aggressive” sexual encounters with several women that border on sexual assault.

In the article, Portnoy is accused by three separate women of having “difficult” sex which has been described as “frightening and humiliating experiences which damaged their mental health”.

Portnoy is the face of Barstool and all the events it can host. One such event is a college football game. The Arizona Bowl, held in Tucson, has signed a title sponsor agreement with Barstool Sports.

The Arizona Bowl pits teams from the MAC and Mountain West conferences against each other in an annual college football game, but this year Barstool will be the host.

The Northern Star editorial board consider this partnership questionable at best, but under no circumstances should Portnoy be present at the game. Since the bowl is mission statement includes “striving to inspire young people”, it doesn’t seem appropriate for Portnoy or Barstool to be associated with such an event.

The allegations against Portnoy are not minor and, if true, warrant a criminal investigation and removal from the company.

“It was so hard I felt like I was being raped,” one woman wrote in posts obtained by Insider. “He filmed me and spat in my mouth and choked me so hard I couldn’t breathe.”

No one should ever feel like this. As a member of a college community, sexual assault is three times more likely to occur, according to RAINNthe largest national organization against sexual violence.

The Northern Star editorial board believe Portnoy’s presence at the 31 December game would distract from the product on the pitch, making the bowl game the undercard and Portnoy the main event.

The Mid-American Conference, NIU and Barstool Arizona Bowl declined to comment on whether they thought Portnoy should attend the event, instead directing all comments to the Arizona Bowl.

College football should not allow people who behave in this way. Such allegations should not be associated with a college-sponsored event, but at a minimum, a man whose past includes rape jokessay again use of the N-word and harassment of those who publicly criticize he and his company should not be present at this event.

The editorial board encourages the MAC, Mountain West, NIU and the Arizona Bowl to ban Portnoy from attending bowl festivities. These organizations must set an example that allegations of this nature have consequences and must be further investigated.

To read the full Insider article without paywall, Click here.