NEW YORK—AdAge has reported that some varieties of Coca-Cola’s Vitaminwater, a major marketing partner for the NCAA, might actually cause athletes to test positive for banned substances. However, only one flavor of the beverage―Revive―is directly affiliated with the NCAA, and that flavor does not contained banned or impermissible substances.
Last year, Coca-Cola and the NCAA signed a multiyear agreement to display Vitaminwater’s Revive flavor on the sidelines during all college championship games and to provide the flavor as a beverage option to players. But the next month the NCAA website mentioned six other flavors contained banned or impermissible substances that could result in positive drug tests. The Rescue and Energy flavors contain caffeine or guarana-seed extract, and B-relaxed, Vital-T, Balance and Power-C flavors include impermissible substances such as taurine, L-theanine, green-tea extract and glucosamine. (Coaches or trainers may not provide players with an impermissible substance, but players may obtain products with impermissible substances themselves.)
A spokesperson for Vitaminwater was quoted as saying: “From the beginning of the partnership, we have worked closely to ensure that we met the NCAA rules on what student athletes can consume. NCAA has said member institutions may provide nine of 15 varieties of Vitaminwater.”
Last month the Vitaminwater brand fell afoul of the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), who filed a class action lawsuit in California against Coca-Cola Co. that accused the company of making deceptive health claims about the beverages that go beyond those allowed by the FDA.