Just before the College Football Playoff final, two Oregon players were suspended for failing NCAA administered drug tests. Reportedly both players tested positive for marijuana. It is not widely known that NCAA drug testing rules treat all “street drugs” equally. That is, a positive test for marijuana or heroin results in the same penalty. Further, most fans are unaware that the NCAA penalty for a positive street drug test is a one-year suspension – first offense.
What is the penalty for a positive drug test?
The penalty for positive tests of both performance-enhancing and street drugs is strict and automatic. Student-athletes lose one full year of eligibility for the first offense (25 percent of their total eligibility) and are withheld from competition for a full season. A second positive test for street drugs results in another lost year of eligibility and year withheld from competition. A second positive result for PED usage will render the student-athlete permanently ineligible.
Now the two Oregon (a state that recently voted to legalize marijuana) players have they think you made some progress today tested positive, NCAA is proposing a drastic change in its policy.
The NCAA has tested student-athletes for banned substances, including recreational drugs, at championship events since 1986. But student-athlete drug use survey data indicate drug testing at championships hasn’t deterred recreational drug use: Alcohol use has dipped only slightly in recent years, marijuana use has remained relatively stable and prescription opiate use has grown.Given that testing over nearly 30 years hasn’t served as an adequate deterrent – plus the fact that student-athletes who are penalized for recreational drug use by losing eligibility are more likely to drop out of school – the committee suggested the NCAA explore whether a different approach for recreational drugs is warranted.
What about UGA?
When NCAA changes its policy from punishment to education, will (or should) UGA continue its relatively harsh (compared to some others in the SEC) marijuana policy?