State Rep. Jon Jacobsen sent the following letter to Kevin Warren, the commissioner of the Big Ten Conference:
Mr. Kevin F. Warren, Commissioner
Big Ten Conference, Inc.
Office of the Commissioner
5440 Park Place
Rosemont, IL 60018-3272
The Big Ten Conference Inc. (The Big Ten) operates as a nonprofit corporation, consisting of 12 intercollegiate institutions, including the University of Iowa funded by public moneys and, according to available records, The Big Ten claims exempt status from federal and state income taxation pursuant to section 501(c)(3) of the federal Internal Revenue Code and Iowa Code section 422.34(2).
An out-of-state nonprofit corporation (foreign corporation) cannot transact business in this state unless it complies with certain requirements set forth in the “Revised Iowa Nonprofit Corporation Act” (Iowa Act) (Iowa Code chapter 504). In general, a foreign corporation must obtain a certificate of authority from the Iowa Secretary of State (Iowa Code section 504.1501) and be continuously maintaining a registered office and registered agent in this state (Iowa Code section 504.1507).
This letter is to formally request that The Big Ten verify whether it is authorized to transact business in this state as a foreign corporation under the Iowa Act. If it is the position of The Big Ten that is not required to comply with the provisions of the Act, please provide an explanation of The Big Ten’s rationale for that position.
Given the impact of The Big Ten’s decisions affecting University of Iowa athletic programs due to its decisions regarding the COVID-19 pandemic (COVID-19 medical decisions) and the impact of those COVID-19 medical decisions upon a State Board of Regents Institution (Iowa Code section 262.7) and this state’s economy, please submit all of the following information:
- The Big Ten’s articles of incorporation, including any amendments to the articles effective on and after January 1, 2020.
- The Big Ten’s bylaws, including any amendments to the bylaws or related appendices effective on and after January 1, 2020.
- Any form in the Form 990 Series filed with the Internal Revenue Service on and after January 1, 2017.
- The names of The Big Ten Council of Presidents and Chancellors (COP/C) responsible for adopting COVID-19 medical decisions.
- Any record as defined in Iowa Code section 504.104(36) concerning COVID-19 medical decisions by The Big Ten, including but not limited to all of the following:
a. The most recent edition of The Big Ten’s Conference Handbook.
b. Minutes of meetings of the COP/C.
c. Official discussions regarding the 2020-2021 football season.
d. Official discussions by The Big Ten’s governing bodies, including but not limited to boards and committees, including all of the following:
(1) The dates, times, and locations of the meetings.
(2) The names of participants and their titles.
(3) Copies of notices regarding the meetings and the names of persons receiving such notices.
(4) A description of the type of meeting conducted (e.g., annual or quarterly). If the meeting was a special meeting, a description of the person or persons calling the meeting and the authority for calling the meeting.
e. Any record as defined in Iowa Code section 504.104(36) of any formal or informal group such as information, opinions, reports, statements, and recommendations that was presented to The Big Ten when considering or adopting COVID-19 medical decisions, including but not limited to any record that examined the fiscal impact on The Big Ten and its 12 intercollegiate institutions of COVID-19 medical decisions on the 2020-2021 football season.
If you have any questions regarding this matter, please do not hesitate to contact me. Otherwise, I look forward to your prompt response.
Jon A. Jacobsen, JD
Member, Iowa House of Representatives (Dist. 22 – Pottawattamie)
Government Oversight, Vice Chair
Administrative Rules Review