The Center for Science in the Public Interest has announced its latest
target: alcohol advertising in college sports.
The CSPI kicked off a campaign to get colleges and universities, athletic conferences, and the NCAA to stop taking money from alcohol advertisers. George Hacker, director of the CSPI’s alcohol policies project, said college administrators who are trying to cut down on underage drinking on campus couldn’t look the other way when it comes to beer ads during televised college sports games. The CSPI had support from two figures associated with college sports: former University of North Carolina head basketball coach Dean Smith, college basketball’s all-time highest-winning coach, and Rep. Tom Osborne, R-Neb., former University of Nebraska head football coach. The CSPI’s Hacker charged beer marketers with targeting underage drinkers, a point the alcohol industry disputed. Jeff Becker, president of the Beer Institute, has noted that the majority of college sports attendees, as well as college students, are of legal drinking age. NCAA spokesman Jeff Howard said no changes are being considered at this time, but noted that the NCAA restricts the amount of time and types of alcoholic beverages advertised during its championships.