College Greats Join Call for End to Alcohol Ads on College Sports Broadcasts


May 14, 2004

A dream team of college coaching greats--including Hall of Famers John Wooden and Dean Smith--today urged U.S. Representatives to cosponsor a Resolution in the House that calls on the NCAA and its member colleges to voluntarily end alcohol advertising on college sports broadcasts.

In urging Representatives to cosponsor House Resolution 575, introduced by Rep. Tom Osborne (R-NE), Hall of Fame former head football coach at the University of Nebraska, the college sports leaders write, "We share a common belief that alcohol and college sports do not belong together. Advertising alcoholic beverages during college sports telecasts undermines the best interests of higher education and compromises the efforts of colleges and others to combat epidemic levels of alcohol problems on many campuses today."

The letter to U.S. Representatives in support of the Osborne resolution is signed by:

  • John Wooden, seven-time college basketball coach of the year while winning ten NCAA national championships at UCLA;
  • Dean Smith, the all-time winning college basketball coach: two NCAA national championships at the University of North Carolina and a gold medal as coach of the 1976 U.S. Olympic team;
  • Joe Paterno, two-time NCAA national champion head football coach at Penn State University and one of the winningest college football coaches of all-time;
  • Jim Calhoun, head basketball coach of the University of Connecticut 1999 and 2004 NCAA menís basketball champions;
  • Rene Portland, head womenís basketball coach at Penn State University and two-time national coach of the year and three-time Big Ten coach of the year;
  • Grant Teaff, Hall of Fame former head football coach at Baylor University and Executive Director of the American Football Coaches Association; and
  • Andy Geiger, Athletic Director at Ohio State, who has served more than 30 years as athletic director at schools that have won more than 30 national championships.

The seven signers of the letter have more than 200 years collective experience coaching college athletes (more than 185 as head coaches) and Andy Geiger and Grant Teaff together have more than 50 years of athletic administration experience.

The letter to the House says ending alcohol ads on college sports is "long overdue" and adds, "The use of college sports to market beer to millions of college students and other underage fans distorts the best values of college sports."

The letter was organized by the Campaign for Alcohol-Free Sports TV, a project of the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI).

"Who should you trust on this issue, college coaching legends who have devoted their lives to working with young people or the beer industry that says their ads on college sports broadcasts have no impact on underage drinking?" said George Hacker, Director of CSPI's Alcohol Project. "Representatives should run the play the coaches have called and cosponsor the Osborne resolution."

The Campaign for Alcohol-Free Sports TV has asked all NCAA schools to sign the College Commitment pledging to end alcohol ads on college sports broadcasts. Since mid-January more than 12 percent of NCAA schools have signed the College Commitment (133 NCAA schools, including 38 Division I schools). More information on the College Commitment and the Campaign for Alcohol-Free Sports TV can be found at www.BeerFreeSportsTV.org.

 

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