DEBATE BREWING OVER BEER SPONSORSHIP OF COLLEGE ATHLETICS
The relationship between alcoholic beverage companies
and intercollegiate athletics is examined by Kay Hawes of
the NCAA NEWS, who writes that while some institutions "have
turned to alcoholic beverage distributorships and brewing
companies to sponsor athletics events, tournaments or
teams," other schools have established "strict policies that
prohibit such partnerships," while other institutions "are
on the fence." At Fresno State, Asst. VP/Univ. Relations
John Zelezny said, "We have relationships now with [at]
least a couple of local [alcoholic beverage] distributors.
... It poses a difficult problem for us, because on one hand
it's important not to promote abuse of the product. On the
other hand, we got rid of prohibition as a society decades
ago." At UNC-Chapel Hill, there are no promotions with
alcoholic beverage companies. Tar Heel Network radio
carrier Village Co. went so far as to create a "Don't Get
Wasted" PSA campaign for UNC. The Univ. of MN last fall
"began to re-examine its relationship" with alcoholic
beverage companies, reducing a three-year deal with
Minnesota Brewing to one year. Univ. of MN Asst. AD/
External Ops Pat Forciea cited the "increasing number of
drinking-related incidents across the nation" and said, "The
right thing to do was to end our relationship. It was also
the expensive thing to do." MN's athletic department
received about $250,000 from alcoholic beverage companies.
Last month, U.S. Sen. Joseph Biden (D-DE) "proposed a
resolution in the U.S. Senate that includes recommendations
that universities not enter into sponsorship agreements with
alcoholic beverage companies" (NCAA NEWS, 4/6 issue).
IN DEFENSE: John Kaestner, A-B Senior Group Dir/
Consumer Awareness & Education, defended beer companies'
role in promoting college athletics and noted "a lot of that
funding generated by sponsorships helps fund ... sports like
track, baseball and women's sports" (NCAA NEWS, 4/6 issue).