College Presidents Pressure NCAA to Abide by Rules on Alcohol Ads
> 4/15/2008 1:22:53 PM

The National Collegiate Athletic Association, or the NCAA as it is commonly known, represents the collaboration of over 1,200 universities, colleges, conferences, and organizations who ensure the success and vitality of inter-collegiate sports competition. While the NCAA administers every type and level of competition, from Division III rowing to Division 1 fencing, the fact of the matter is that the big money sports dominate much of the discussion surrounding the group. These sports are football, men's basketball, and to a lesser extent, women's basketball. It is these three sports that are regularly to be found on national television, and thus it is these three sports that drive the advertising dollars that account for a large portion of many different groups' revenues.

These advertising dollars, a virtual lightening rod of debate in some circles, came under renewed fire from a group of college and university administrators from around the country for the part that ads play in connecting collegiate sports with alcohol. As a press release from the anti-alcohol advertising Center for Science in the Public Interest points out, ads during this year's Final Four Basketball Championships violated the NCAA's self-imposed limit of not more than 120-seconds of alcohol related ads during any telecast:

During the UCLA versus Memphis broadcast, CBS aired 200 seconds of beer advertising comprised of 15-, 20-, and 30-second spots for Bud Light, Bud Light Lime, and Miller Lite. During the North Carolina versus Kansas semifinal broadcast, CBS aired 240 seconds of beer ads. During the final on Monday night, 270 seconds of beer ads aired�more than twice what the NCAA says it allows. And none of those totals include several showings each night of Bud Light and Miller Lite sponsorship banners on the screen for five or six seconds at a time.

The group of administrators has sent a letter to NCAA President Myles Brand calling for action on the issue of advertising for alcoholic beverages. This outcry should come as little surprise, as colleges continue to face many challenges brought on by alcohol use and abuse by students both on campuses and off. By allowing college sports to be so closely aligned with alcohol advertisers— indeed, beer was the second ranked ad category among last year's NCAA basketball tournament ads— the NCAA sends the subtle but effective message that sports and alcohol go together. This is a message actively cultivated by virtually every beer ad, and it is a message consumed not only by adults of drinking age, but by children who watch NCAA contests and idolize NCAA athletes.

It should be noted that the NCAA has a rule against alcohol advertising during games. But that rule only applies to beverages with alcohol content of 6% or higher, a limit that conveniently allows for beer to be actively pushed. The reality of the situation is that little is likely to change. The list of administrators who have signed the letter to President Brand is long, but noticeably absent are any names from schools who play in any of the major athletic conferences. College sports, due in large part to advertising and beer ads in particular, is a cash cow, and many schools depend on the money they receive from these ads to ensure that other school initiatives and organizations remain funded. If beer ads were to disappear from NCAA telecasts, it's highly unlikely that other advertisers wouldn't rush in right away to fill the void, but the collaboration between the major broadcasters, beer companies, and the NCAA is so well-established, and so profitable for all parties, that the status quo may need a serious shock if any athletic departments are to ever consider changing their position on the issue.

No comments yet.

Post Your Comments

Post a comment
Email Address:
Verification Code:
Input the 8 characters you see above:


Drug Abuse
Sexual Addiction
Eating Disorders
Alzheimer's Disease

About TOL | Contact Us | Defining Behavioral Fitness | For Healthcare Professionals | Links | Privacy Policy