In Depth

Coaches Urge NCAA to Ban Alcohol Ads in College Sports Telecasts

More than 100 college coaches are making a new appeal to NCAA President Myles Brand to eliminate alcohol advertising in telecasts of college sports. The effort comes as the NCAA’s Division 1 executive committee prepares to meet Thursday in Indianapolis.

In a letter Monday, the coaches said they are “troubled by the prominence of alcohol advertising in televised college sports” and offer a new proposal to phase out alcohol ads over three years.

“We strongly urge you to take actions against all alcohol advertising—including beer advertising—on NCAA sports telecasts,” said the letter. “We believe that this could be done gradually and relatively painlessly.”

The action was supported by 59 college presidents and 239 athletic directors.

The executive committee last reviewed the NCAA’s alcohol advertising standards in 2005.

Currently the NCAA limits alcohol advertising to products that don't exceed 6% alcohol levels, meaning beer and some wine coolers. Also, it allows only allows one minute per hour of any telecast to be devoted to alcohol ads.

Anheuser-Busch and SAB Miller are among the top five advertisers in CBS’ telecasts of the “March Madness” college basketball tournament.

A decision to eliminate alcohol advertising could affect the rights fees the NCAA receives for media telecasts.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest also has called on the NCAA to act.

“It’s refreshing to see so many college presidents, athletic directors and coaches standing up for what’s best for their institutions, sports programs and student athletes,” said George A. Hacker, director of the Campaign for Alcohol-Free Sports TV at the Center for Science in the Public Interest. “Even officials at many major sports powerhouses, which derive some revenue from beer advertising, recognize the hypocrisy and illogic of the NCAA’s sellout to beer peddlers.”