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Instagram Posts Related to Alcohol Use on College Football Game Days after Implementation of an Alcohol Sales Policy

Beth H. Chaney, Ryan J. Martin, Hunter Hart & Jordan Cobb

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Alcohol consumption is a risk factor associated with an array of chronic diseases and conditions. Furthermore, alcohol-use frequency, along with overall volume consumed, contribute to a substantial level of global burden of chronic illnesses and conditions. Although emerging research supports a causal link between alcohol-use frequency and chronic disease, many university and college athletic departments have started implementing policies that allow the sale of alcoholic beverages at sporting events, particularly at campus football stadiums. Between 2017 and 2019, the number of Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) Division I college football programs that offered in-stadium alcohol sales nearly doubled (40 to 78).4 While the alcohol sales are slated to generate substantial amounts of money for the college and university campuses, they also contradict strategic campus initiatives aimed at reducing student drinking and negative consequences associated with drinking on-campus.

College students are considered an at-risk group for high levels of alcohol use, and as such, the behavior is deemed a serious public and community health problem linked to the onset of lifetime chronic conditions. In addition, sporting events held on college campuses, particularly college football games, have been associated with high-risk drinking behaviors among collegiate spectators. Specifically, Glassman and colleagues noted that alcohol consumption levels by fans on football game days were higher than consumption levels by the same fans at their last social, non-sporting event.
Moreover, sports fans have been found to experience more alcohol-related problems than non-sports fans. Nelson & Wechsler, and more recently, Barry and colleagues reported that crime incidents occurring in a case study of a campus football stadium before and after the allowance of alcohol sales saw an upward trend, with liquor law violations being highest after alcohol sales at the stadium were initiated. The crime report data included alcohol violations; specifically, Barry and colleagues found that liquor law violations and alcohol consumed by a minor were the most frequently cited offenses within the crime report data reviewed in their case study.

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