As the Badger sports teams gear up for another season in an era of tight budgets, the UW administration has volunteered to take almost a half million dollar hit in lost revenue.
Last August, 100 college presidents rallied to a call for an examination of lowering the drinking age back to the age of majority in order to control binge drinking. This August, the University of Wisconsin Chancellor Biddy Martin ended long-standing sponsorship agreements with Miller-Coors and others for beer advertising during Badgers sports broadcasts. The deals, which brought the University about $425,000 per year, were not renewed after a campus committee recommended doing away with them as part of its “fight against binge drinking.”
“It hurts the athletic department financially, but they are stepping up and taking one for the team,” newly appointed Vice Chancellor Sweeney said. The Vice Chair of the Libertarian Party of Wisconsin, Jim Maas, wonders which team the UW is on. He points out that Wisconsin citizens and businesses support the UW system and Badger sports, including thousands engaged in economic activities related to Wisconsin’s brewing industry. “Taxpayers who take a hit to support higher education expect the University of Wisconsin to engage in education, not an anti-beer campaign.”
Former Wisconsin Attorney General Jim Doyle advocated lowering the drinking age uniformly across the nation to 19. He said in 2001 that the idea that we can somehow keep those between 19 and 21 from drinking is false. “We should recognize it’s a myth. We ought to put it up front, and be morally responsible about it.”
“The UW has taken actions in the past which have hurt downtown Madison businesses. Now they are taking actions far beyond their educational mission which will affect thousands all over the state, from the farm field to the convenience store,” noted Maas.
The Libertarian Party of Wisconsin advocates an end to policies which treat adults as children, hampering individual freedom and the responsibility that must go with it.