NCAA Schools Urged to End Beer Ads on Broadcasts
Of 64 Men’s Basketball Tournament Schools, 10 Support an End to Beer Ads on College Sports Programming
March 15, 2006
The Campaign for Alcohol-Free Sports TV today urged 54 of the 64 colleges and universities sending teams to the NCAA men’s basketball tournament to commit to ending beer advertising on college sports games. The campaign, which is led by the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest and is backed by an impressive array of coaching greats and organizations, says that associating drinking with college sports makes a mockery of athletic and academic values and makes it harder for officials to combat alcohol problems on college campuses. Each year, 599,000 students suffer alcohol-related injuries, including 97,000 students who are victims of alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape. 1,700 college students die each year in alcohol-related deaths.
“Public health and law-enforcement officials already have their hands full trying to prevent underage and binge drinking and combating alcohol-fueled violence on campus,” said George Hacker, director of CSPI’s alcohol policies project. “The last thing they need is more than $50 million in beer advertising on collegiate sports every year, sending the signal that these schools support drinking. Nearly a quarter of all NCAA-member schools realize this, but it’s time for the rest to follow suit.”
The Campaign for Alcohol-Free Sports TV has been urging college officials to sign a pledge indicating that the school will prohibit alcohol advertising on locally produced sports programming, and that the school will work within its athletic conference and within the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) to eliminate all alcohol advertising from televised college sports. Some 246 NCAA-member colleges—representing 24 percent of the NCAA—have signed, including 10 of the 64 schools in the tournament.
“The tournament should be a celebration of the best in college sports,” wrote Hacker and Campaign for Alcohol-Free Sports TV manager Jay Hedlund in a letter today to 54 college presidents whose schools have not signed. “Unfortunately, the event and its youthful participants have been hijacked to hawk beer to students and other fans, including many who are younger than the minimum legal drinking age.”
In addition to CSPI, the Campaign is backed by U.S. Representative Tom Osborne (R-NE), formerly the head coach of the University of Nebraska football team. He has sponsored a resolution in the House of Representatives which calls on the NCAA to stop beer advertising on its telecasts. Other NCAA coaching legends who support the Campaign include Dean Smith, John Wooden, Joe Paterno and Jim Calhoun.
“Rather than make money from beer commercials, universities have a unique opportunity to minimize the exposure of young people to alcohol advertising and send a clear message on the serious risks of underage and excessive drinking,” said Representative Osborne.
The letter to the college presidents is available online at http://www.cspinet.org/new/pdf/beerfreeletter.pdf. More information about the campaign is available at http://www.beerfreesportstv.org.