March Mission Madness

Like millions of other Americans, I have again contracted the dreaded March Madness and become engrossed in games featuring the best players I’ve never heard of (Ali Farokhmanesh, anyone?).  But the most painful part of the tournament this year is not witnessing the mysterious collapse of the Big East, but having to suffer through the countless beer commercials.

And with the big brewers (kind of a redundant phrase, since ABI and MillerCoors control 80% of the American beer market) cycling back down into advertising that is either misogynist or mindless, the NCAA becomes even more complicit in contributing to our nation’s alcohol problems.

That fact is not changed by the shiny new public relations campaign the NCAA has rolled out -“We Put Our Money Where Our Mission Is”:

It’s all well and good that about $51 million a year of the NCAA media money goes into supporting non-revenue sports, for example, but it doesn’t address the issue of the source of the money.  After all, how ethical can the use of money be if the money is tainted in the first place?

The Campaign for Alcohol-Free Sports TV and the United Methodist Church (always in the forefront of public health issues), continue to point out the NCAA’s disconnect:

“People should be aware of the way in which NCAA and beer producers exploit a youthful, healthful, action-packed activity to sell beer and to promote beer to an audience that includes a large number of impressionable young people,” [George A.] Hacker said.

Sooner or later, the NCAA is going have to live up to its own putative values.

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