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Colleges partnering with beer companies to sell at college games

Problems arising from the presence of alcohol on college campuses, often in copious amounts, have made headlines in recent years. Nonetheless, some universities throughout the country -- including a number in the Southeastern Conference (SEC) -- have begun selling beer at their football games.

In fact, some schools have even signed contracts with brewing companies to make special beers for them. These partnerships have something for both the beer makers and the schools. They seek to improve the stagnating market for beer by attracting younger customers and to improve school spirit, support and attendance at games. Schools also get a portion of the profits.

Cross-marketing schemes have included advertisements for the beer featuring the schools' colors. For example, Tulane University's partnership with a local brewer has resulted in Green Wave Beer -- named after the New Orleans' school's teams.

Some people who study the impact of alcohol on young people have, not surprisingly, expressed concern at these new partnerships. They increase the exposure young people get to alcohol advertising, which can make them more likely to drink -- even if they are underage.

One official with Johns Hopkins University says that the partnerships of beer companies (both smaller local brewers and large companies like Anheuser-Busch) and universities are "further embedding and normalizing alcohol use on college campuses, in college populations." He expresses concern that these affiliations between beer companies and colleges will encourage college drinking, which nearly two-thirds of college students already admit to, and lead to excessive drinking and a "vulnerability for high-risk behaviors."

The sale of alcohol at college games has increased significantly in recent years and has moved beyond parking lot tailgate parties to beer gardens and concession stands in the stadiums even though the SEC has restrictions on the sale of alcohol there. However, there are indications that those restrictions may be relaxed.

It's essential for parents of college kids to talk to them about the dangers associated with drinking -- including the potential legal ramifications if they are pulled over for drunk driving or caught with alcohol when they're underage. A conviction for an alcohol-related offense can impact their college career and follow students beyond that.

Source: USA Today, "College football fans love beer. Now universities want to cash in," Diana Kruzman, Sophia Tulp, accessed Dec. 06, 2017