Action Alert: Urge College Presidents to Help Break Tie Between Sports & Alcohol Ads

January 2004




This month, the Campaign wrote to every president and every athletic director of the approximately 1200 schools in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), requesting endorsement of our "College Commitment."  The College Commitment is a pledge to support reform in alcohol advertising at individual schools, at the conference level, and within the NCAA.  Ohio State University, the 2002 national college football champions, became the first school to sign the commitment.


What's at Stake:


Few college campuses are immune from the widespread problems associated with underage and binge drinking.  In 2001, two out of five college students were classified as binge drinkers and in 1999, more than 30 percent of students in a national survey showed symptoms of alcohol abuse while more than 40 percent showed symptoms of alcohol abuse or dependence.1  Although colleges and universities counsel underage students not to drink and of-age students to drink responsibly, they then often accept revenues from beer advertising on their televised sports broadcasts, thereby undermining the message they are trying to send to students.  Those ad revenues are surely not worth the economic costs of alcohol misuse -- campus property damage, lost tuition from drop outs and failures, legal costs of liability suits, administrative hearings on academic and disciplinary cases -- nor the intangible costs to student health, community relationships, and time lost and stress felt by college administrators who work on alcohol-related issues.2


What You Can Do:


If you have any association with a college or university (particularly NCAA schools), we urge you to write to the school's president.  Letters from alums, students, parents, fans, and prospective students will have significant weight with the president, and your letter would make a real difference.  Write to the private or public universities in your town or state, your alma mater, your child's school, the football or basketball college team you or your children root for, or the colleges your teenager is considering attending.


Action Steps:

  1. Use the talking points, arguments and stats from our website, and your own experiences and opinions to craft a letter to the college president.  If you can, send a copy to the athletic director to further promote discussion on campus and one to us for our records!

  2. To find the president's name and address, go to the school's website (Click here to find your school's website) or use the phone book if the school is in your area.  The school's website should also list the athletic director's contact information.  If not, try the NCAA Member Organization webpage.

  3. Include a copy of the Campaign's College Commitment with your letter.  Click here for a printable version. [PDF]

  4. Pass it on!  Share your letters with others in the university community.  If you are an alum, send a copy of your letter to the alumni magazine or a similar publication. Get other parents of teenagers to send letters to the schools courting their children.  Share this alert with other fans of the home team.  Send a letter to the local newspaper about your request of the president.  Click here to send this webpage to a friend.


Thank you to everyone who has taken action so far!


For further information on this action alert contact:  Amy Gotwals, Manager of Grassroots Advocacy, at or (202) 332-9110.




1.  Campaign for Alcohol-Free Sports TV (2003).  College Students and Alcohol Use Fact Sheet. [PDF]

2.  Campaign for Alcohol-Free Sports TV (2003).  College Students and Alcohol Use Fact Sheet. [PDF]



Campaign for Alcohol-Free Sports TV

Center for Science in the Public Interest

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