We all know that universities are far cozier with beer companies than educators of underage drinkers probably ought to be. It's tough, though, when part of your educational mission is to send your boys out onto the gridiron in front of 70,000 paying fans who, let's face it, have been known to - on occasion - pop open a few beers in the parking lot beforehand. So, let's give props to the University of Wisconsin athletic department for "taking one for the team" (in the words of Vince Sweeney, the school's vice chancellor for university relations) by battle against binge drinking by UW sports fans.
Credit, also, individual schools around the country that forced Anheuser-Busch InBev to pull back on its "Fan Cans" program, which it launched to coincide with the start of the college football season. The Bud Light cans - painted black and gold in West Lafayette, Ind., crimson and blue in Lawrence, Kan., and so on - made it look very much like the universities had a financial stake in the campaign, which it turns out they don't. Reaction varied by location; in Manhattan, Kan., Kansas State officials say that because the purple and white cans don't include a university logo or Powercat, there's no possibility for confusion by the buyer. Pat Bosco, K-State's vice president for student life, said, "We have a commitment to educating our students about underage drinking, but we don't have a trademark on purple and white."
Somebody ought to send Pat to the legal databases so he can bone up on Louisiana State University v. Smack Apparel Co. There's a lot of money to be lost by letting beer companies, or any other corporate interests, co-opt a university's colors.