There were Billboards in T-Town about students getting educated instead of addicted. The billboards weren’t to be found in areas close to the University of Alabama but they were all over town.
The organization Pride of Tuscaloosa that was responsible for the billboards is supported by the City of Tuscaloosa, the West Alabama Chamber of Commerce, and Nicks Kids.
The position of the National Institute on Alcohol Use and Alcoholism is that: “Underage drinking is a serious public health problem in the United States. Alcohol is the most widely used substance among America’s youth, and drinking by young people poses enormous health and safety risks.”
The crowds that poured out of bars on The Strip after Alabama’s football team won the national championship may well have created a super-spreader event. The University of Alabama published figures on student Covid cases. It has reported 450 since classes resumed on Jan. 13. The University said that there were record numbers of off-campus positive cases over the holiday break. In spite of the figures posted on its Dashboard, Vice President for Student Life Myron Pope has indicated that the University may bring back social events, as reported in The Crimson White by Kelby Hutchinson.
Of course, since there was no contract tracing of the students who participated, whether the rise in cases at the University was related to the congregation of thousands of students on The Strip would be pure speculation. However a satirical suggestion for a Tee-shirt alludes to the celebration.
Since one consequence of under-aged drinking is the impairment of judgment and risky behavior, some of the students who rushed onto the packed crowd on University Boulevard and were shouting at the top of their lungs while not wearing masks may have been inebriated. It would be highly likely that many of them were younger than 21 years of age. (The Tuscaloosa Police Department would have records of the ages of any who were arrested.) Most students have worn masks during the football games in Bryant-Denny Stadium and at basketball games at Coleman Coliseum. But not wearing masks while lining up at bars on The Strip has been commonplace.
The University of Alabama certainly has a strict policy on alcohol use:
Individuals under 21 years of age are not permitted to consume alcohol or be in possession of alcohol. Alcohol paraphernalia (which includes but is not limited to: empty beer cans or bottles, shot glasses, etc.) are prohibited and considered a violation of policy. Individuals over the age of 21 may consume alcohol in designated areas on campus in a safe and responsible manner.
Getting educated, not addicted, is even more important during the Coronavirus pandemic. The risky behavior that occurred on The Strip after the national championship was doubtlessly fueled by alcohol. It is good that the City of Tuscaloosa and West Alabama Chamber of Commerce support an organization like Pride of Tuscaloosa that is trying to get the message out about the consequences of under-aged drinking.