The NCAA's Advertising and Promotional Standards
October 17, 2005
The NCAA’s advertising and promotional standards are designed to encourage those advertisements and advertisers that support the NCAA’s ideals and exclude those advertisements and advertisers (and others who wish to associate with NCAA activities) that do not appear to be in the best interests of higher education and student-athletes.
Advertisements, advertisers and others associated with NCAA events (e.g., entities participating in NCAA championship fan fests) should be generally supportive of the NCAA’s values and attributes, and/or not be in conflict with the NCAA’s mission and fundamental principles.
In formulating these advertising and promotional standards, the NCAA reviewed the broadcast practices and standards documents of its primary television partners (i.e., the CBS Television Network Advertising Guidelines and the ESPN Domestic Commercial Guidelines). In some cases, the NCAA adopted specific standards from these guidelines. Overall, the NCAA recognizes that these network guidelines help to maintain and assure a standard of appropriate advertising on NCAA championship telecasts.
The NCAA will work with each of its business partners (including CBS, Turner and ESPN) in reviewing in advance advertisements (e.g., those that might be viewed as demeaning or in poor taste) or other questionable associations with the NCAA prior to the NCAA rendering a decision as to how these standards should apply in any given situation. The NCAA reserves the right to exercise flexibility as circumstances warrant.
The NCAA strives to be associated with entities and messages that:
Understanding the realities and challenges that commercial entities face in attempting to reach these objectives, the NCAA believes, at a minimum, that advertisements, advertisers and others who wish to be associated with NCAA events should not:
The NCAA reserves the right to disapprove any advertiser, advertisement or other association with the NCAA or its activities that in the NCAA’s sole judgment violates the principles outlined above, which may be modified from time to time as part of the NCAA membership’s continual review of Association policies and procedures.
The items below are intended to provide specific examples of topics and entities that are, and are not, permitted to be associated with the NCAA or its events (marked below as Permissible or Impermissible, respectively). These examples are not meant to be exhaustive but instead were chosen to illustrate the application of the NCAA’s principles outlined above. Over the years, NCAA business partners have questioned these topics and entities, and as a result, these examples are intended to address the most likely questions. For specific items or areas not listed below, the principles outlined above will govern. In any situation in which there is any doubt about appropriateness or adherence to the standards contained herein, the NCAA, after gathering input from the involved parties, shall review the situation on a case-by-case basis to determine, in its sole discretion, approval or disapproval. All questions about items or areas not listed should be directed to the NCAA’s managing director of strategic activation.
[NOTE: Certain words are boldfaced below only to aid in locating specific items.]
Health Related Products
Individuals, Agencies and Organizations
Alcohol and Tobacco
(i) such advertisements do not compose more than 14 percent of the space in the NCAA publication (e.g., game program) devoted to advertising or not more than 60 seconds per hour of any NCAA championship programming,
(ii) such advertisements or advertisers incorporate “Drink Responsibly” educational messaging *, and
(iii) the content of all such advertisements is respectful (e.g., free of gratuitous and overly suggestive sexual innuendo, no displays of disorderly, reckless or destructive behavior) as determined by the NCAA on a case-by-case basis. P
* (1) For television and radio, there is flexibility as to how the advertisement or advertiser can provide the “Drink Responsibly” messaging. The NCAA will review and determine on a case-by-case basis what is considered an adequate level of such messaging, which should be commensurate with the following general standard: a voice-over and/or super (on-screen text that is easily legible) of at least 3 seconds in a 30-second commercial; or a minimum of 5 seconds in a 60-second commercial). (2) For radio, consist of a voice-over for a minimum of 3 seconds for a 30-second commercial or 5 seconds for a 60-second commercial. (3) For print or Internet, acceptable “Drink Responsibly” messaging, at a minimum, must consist of text and/or graphics so as to make the tag easily legible in relation to other text in the ad. [It is recommended that all proposed tags be submitted for NCAA review in each case, regardless of TV, radio, print or Internet.]
[NOTE: NCAA marks available for use by authorized entities, with prior approval, can be found at http://www.ncaa.org/wps/wcm/connect/corp_relations/corprel/corporate+relationships/corporate+alliances/trademarks.html]
The NCAA president shall have the authority to rule in cases where doubt exists concerning acceptable advertisers and/or advertisements associated with NCAA championships and other NCAA related activities.
The NCAA staff will carry out the president’s authority over these standards on a day-to-day basis. The managing director of marketing and broadcast alliances will consult with other NCAA staff in the area being affected (e.g., communications staff, championships staff to the extent the advertising is to be placed during the broadcast of NCAA championships) before making the final decision. The vice president of communications, as well as in-house counsel, shall be consulted, as necessary, before communicating final decisions.
The NCAA will use commercially reasonable efforts not to apply any substantive changes to its advertising and promotional standards without proper notice to its business partners (e.g., have changes be effective at the beginning of the next academic year).
© 2010 The National Collegiate Athletic Association
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