Talking Points: Urge College Presidents to Help Break Tie Between Sports & Alcohol Ads

January 2004


Keep your letter clear and to the point, but feel free to include personal affiliation, experience, or opinion.  For example: "As a 1987 graduate, I am concerned about dangerous drinking on campus today."  Or "When my 14-year-old and I watch the Cougars on TV, I am upset by the presence of beer ads during the games."  Be sure to reference the College Commitment, as it offers the president a clear step to take to remedy the situation.  (And he/she will have likely heard from us already.)

  • Did you know that there were more alcoholic-beverage ads shown during the 2002 NCAA basketball tournament than during the Super Bowl, World Series, NFL Monday Night Football, and all college football bowl games combined?1  That is hardly a message that strengthens efforts to reduce alcohol problems on campus and in the college community.

  • Alcoholic-beverage industries spent $58 million on advertising during televised college sporting events in 2002.2  Alcohol is the major drug problem among youth, and is a substantial factor in the three leading causes of death among young people -- suicide, accidents, and homicide.3

  • Last September, a landmark report from the National Academy of Sciences called on this country to "create and sustain a broad societal commitment to reduce underage drinking."  The report specifically recommended colleges and universities eliminate alcohol advertising and promotion on campus.  I look forward to your continued leadership to address underage drinking on campus and in our community.

  • Perhaps better than anyone else, you understand the serious harm to the institutions, your students, and the whole community caused by underage and excessive drinking.  I worry that your efforts are compromised -- and your credibility undermined -- by accepting game revenue from televised beer advertisements that send conflicting messages to students and even younger fans and viewers.

  • I respectfully request your endorsement of the enclosed "College Commitment" and your support of efforts to reform alcohol advertising on televised sports events involving your school, your athletic conference, and the NCAA.


See our fact sheets for more information to use in your letter.


Send these Talking Points to a friend!


For more information contact:  Amy Gotwals, Manager of Grassroots Advocacy, at or

(202) 332-9110.




1.  Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth (2003).  Alcohol advertising on sports television, 2001 and 2002 Fact Sheet. [PDF]

2.  Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth (2003).  Alcohol advertising on sports television, 2001 and 2002 Fact Sheet. [PDF]

3.  Kann, L., Kinchen, S.A., Williams, B.I., Ross, J.G., Lowry, R., Grunbaum, J. & Kolbe, L.J. (2000).  Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance -- United States, 1999.  Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.  49(SS05):1-96.



Campaign for Alcohol-Free Sports TV

Center for Science in the Public Interest

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