SBD/Issue 100/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

Six Vitaminwater Flavors Contain Substances Banned By NCAA

Revive To Be Displayed
During Championships
Vitaminwater is a "major marketing partner for the NCAA," but six of the brand's varieties may cause athletes to "test positive for banned substances," according to Natalie Zmuda of AD AGE. Revive is the "only Vitaminwater flavor that is directly affiliated with the NCAA, and it does not [contain] banned or impermissible substances." In October, Coca-Cola signed a multi-year agreement to display Vitaminwater's Revive flavor on the sidelines "during all college championship games." But a month later, Vitaminwater was "cited in a little-noted section on the NCAA website as producing six flavors containing banned or impermissible substances that could result in positive drug tests." Aside from Revive, another eight Vitaminwater flavors are "available on a by-request basis to players." The NCAA Web site states that the six flavors that include impermissible substances "do not have a direct association with the NCAA, and in situations where they are displayed alongside NCAA-themed promotions a visible disclaimer will be provided" (ADAGE.com, 2/10). Brown Univ.'s DAILY HERALD's Mitra Anoushiravani reported some Brown Univ. coaches have "told their teams not to drink the banned flavors of Vitaminwater." But Brown Univ. Assistant AD/Compliance Sarah Fraser said it was "more the responsibility of the individual student-athlete to know what they're putting into their body" (BROWN DAILY HERALD, 2/6).

NCAA STATEMENT: The NCAA today released a statement refuting claims made in an AdAge.com piece about Vitaminwater containing banned substances. The statement said that the item “incorrectly states that student-athletes should not drink six of Vitaminwater’s varieties or they might test positive for banned substances. In fact, normal daily consumption of any of the 13 Vitaminwater varieties will not place a student-athlete at risk for testing positive for banned substances” (NCAA).

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