Some collegiate sports organizations, such as the Lady Vols basketball team, have special license plates. Many Tennessee Titans fans want one that features the AFC Central Division Champions.
Not likely, thanks to a disagreement between the Titans and state Sen. Steve Cohen about where the money raised from those plates would go.
As is the case with all special license plates, 40 percent of the proceeds would go to the Tennessee Arts Commission. Cohen would like to see most of the rest go to Camp Discovery, a facility run by the Jaycees in East Tennessee to help disabled kids.
“We would have strong bodies raising money for not-so-strong bodies,” Cohen says. “It seems like the right thing to do.”
The Titans don’t see it that way. Franchise attorney Steve Underwood says that the NFL team would prefer the money to go to the Titans Foundation, a 501(c)3 organization run by team owner Bud Adams.
“We think Camp Discovery is a wonderful thing, and that is the kind of charity that the Titans Foundation might help out,” Underwood says. “But if the Titans name and logo are going to be used on the plate to raise money, then the team would like to have some say as to where that money goes.”
Cohen and Titans officials have gone back and forth on the license plate issue for more than a year now. The Memphis lawmaker, who helped create the state’s special license plate program in 1986, says that allowing the Titans Foundation to get the money would set a bad precedent. “If we do this, other entities will form foundations and ask for similar deals,” he says. “And after all, there is no guarantee that a foundation such as the Titans Foundation even spends its money in Tennessee.”
Even if Titans officials and Cohen were to have a meeting of the minds, there is no guarantee that Titans fans would get what they want. The state’s special license plate program has grown so large and complicatedthe Legislature has approved more than 70 special and cultural license plates in the last 15 yearsthat many key House members want to turn the program over to the state Department of Safety for regulation.
Davidson County Clerk Bill Covington, a former House member, sees some wisdom in that idea. “It’s completely gotten out of hand,” says Covington, whose office has to deal with so many plates that it can’t even find room to store them anymore. “It seems like we have to keep up with plates for every organization ever formed.”
However, Covington says that a Titans plate, if approved, would stand out above all the rest. “They would sell like popcorn,” he says. “I think the Titans plate would outsell just about every other special plate in Middle Tennessee.”
No pigtails Pink, just pig.
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