Corona sponsorship is ill-advised

Emma Berdanier

It’s no secret that American sports center around alcohol, but that focus is generally restricted to the professional level. However, the University of Texas has brought our college athletics into the mix by naming Corona an official sponsor of the Texas Longhorns, fully linking our sports teams with drinking. This is an irresponsible decision for a top tier university to make, and doesn’t take into account the ramifications that drinking culture has on university campuses.

This new deal with Corona includes access to all of UT’s football, basketball and baseball programs, linking each sport with the beer. It has even lead to the cringe-worthy slogan, “Horns Up, Limes In!” which is not only poorly phrased, but also sends a bad message to students. Instead of portraying our campus for all its academic excellence or its position as one of the four Texas universities that’s a tier one research institution, it portrays us as a party school. A school with excellent sports teams and a student body who knows how to celebrate it — that is, by drinking.

Though it promises a responsible drinking campaign, it’s doubtful that a beer company eager to sell their products to tailgating students will want to deter them from overdoing it. On the contrary, it’s likely that Corona, with money on the line, will make a “responsible drinking campaign” that focuses on the fun rather than safety.

That’s the true problem with this sponsorship. Not that it tarnishes UT’s reputation or does the university a disservice by drawing the focus away from our academics, but that it promotes an unhealthy drinking culture.

Drinking on college campuses in America is a prevalent issue that only becomes more and more relevant with each case of sexual assault or alcohol-related death that occurs. The National Institute on Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse estimates that each year 1,825 students between the ages of 18 and 24 die from alcohol related causes. They also estimate that 696,000 students are assaulted by a student that’s been drinking each year and another 97,000 students report alcohol related sexual assault each year.

These statistics don’t even take into account the damage that drinking heavily at a young age does to a person’s academic career and to their body. With one in four college students reporting academic consequences from drinking and an estimated 20 percent of college students meeting the criteria for Alcohol Use Disorder, a more moderate form of alcoholism, the drinking culture on university campuses is already bad. Beer sponsorships will only serve to make it worse.

The excitement of college sports isn’t intrinsically linked to alcohol, and a sponsorship with Corona, or with any alcohol company for that matter doesn’t promote college athletics. Instead, it promotes drinking, and furthers the idea that to have fun in college and to enjoy college activities one has to drink.

This business move is an ignorant one on UT’s part, as it doesn’t take into account the fact that by doing this they’re promoting a negative culture around alcohol. Instead of partnering with beer companies and making cute slogans, the university should actually take time to educate college students on the dangers of drinking and promote a safer campus.

Berdanier is a philosophy senior from Boulder, Colorado. She is a senior columnist. Follow her on Twitter @eberdanier.