Momentum Builds to End Beer Ads in College Sports
210 NCAA Schools Pledge Action to Nix Alcohol Ads
More than 200 colleges in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) have pledged to end alcohol advertising on college sports broadcasts. Those schools are joined by two Division I conferences—the Ivy League and the Big South Conference—which have also signed the “College Commitment,” a nationwide effort promoted by the Campaign for Alcohol-Free Sports TV.
The College Commitment asks schools to end alcohol ads on local broadcasts of their sporting events and to vote within their conference and the NCAA to end alcohol ads on all televised college sports events.
“College presidents, athletic directors, and coaches are increasingly uncomfortable trying to combat alcohol problems on campus on the one hand, and promoting beer on their sports broadcasts on the other,” said George A. Hacker, director of the Alcohol Policies Project at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, which runs the Campaign for Alcohol-Free Sports TV. “In just a few months, 20 percent of NCAA-member schools joined the campaign to sever the link between alcohol advertising and college sports.”
The campaign has also gained the support of a growing number of college sports legends, including former University of North Carolina basketball coach Dean Smith, and U.S. Representative Tom Osborne (R-NE) former University of Nebraska football coach. Also supporting the effort are former UCLA basketball coach John Wooden, Penn State University football coach Joe Paterno, and University of Connecticut basketball coach Jim Calhoun.
More than 160 organizations also support the campaign, including the American College Health Association, the National Association of High School Coaches, A Matter of Degree at the American Medical Association, the American Public Health Association, the Georgia PTA, and the American School Health Association.
“Eliminating alcohol ads from college games will not in itself eliminate all alcohol problems on campus,” Hacker said. “But it is an important step that colleges should take as part of a comprehensive effort to reduce underage and binge drinking.”
More than 1,400 college students die each year from alcohol-related injuries. 500,000 students are injured under the influence of alcohol each year and more than 70,000 students are victims of alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape.
60 percent of all television alcohol advertising is spent on sports programming. Alcohol producers spent close to $600 million on sports programming in 2002. Of that, approximately $58 million was spent on college sports programs—about 6,251 ads—according to the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth (CAMY).
Contact Jeff Cronin (jcronin[at]cspinet.org) or Ariana Stone (astone[at]cspinet.org).