NCAA to Re-Examine Drug Testing Policy

Press Release January 15, 2015
Media Contact

<p>Contact: Tony Newman, 646-335-5384 or Tommy McDonald 510-338-8827</p>

The NCAA announced yesterday that it plans to re-examine its approach to drug testing student-athletes for recreational drug use. The news comes just days after two University of Oregon football players were suspended for the College Football Playoff national championship game for testing positive for marijuana.

The NCAA Competitive safeguards committee made two recommendations. The first would strengthen the NCAA drug testing for performance-enhancing drugs, while the second would develop alternatives to drug testing for non-performance enhancing drugs like marijuana because “they do not provide a competitive advantage.”

“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,” the NCAA release stated.

According to the statement, the NCAA Sport Science Institute staff will develop a new policy proposal based on those recommendations and will bring the committee’s proposal to the divisional governing bodies in the coming months.

Statement from Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance

“Punishing athletes for marijuana use has nothing to do with fairness or safety in competitive sports and everything to do with inappropriate extensions of the drug war into American life.  It’s great to see the NCAA join with other sports associations in revising this hypocritical and harmful policy.”

A young woman holds a sign that says "End the Drug War."

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