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In a groundbreaking sports investigative piece, ESPN the Magazine uncovered that approximately half of the Oregon football team smokes pot.
What’s more ESPN also uncovered that pot smoking is common among athletes and college students.
I can’t wait for the ESPN expose that discovers beer, video games, and sex are also popular college pursuits.
Maybe I’m in the extreme minority here, but I don’t care who smokes pot.
As a parent I’d prefer that my kids never smoke anything.
But if they were going to smoke something, I’d rather they smoked pot occasionally than cigarettes all the time.
And I think a lot of parents would feel the same way.
What’s more, in an era when boosters pay for abortions at Miami, the most legendary coach of our era fails to keep children from being raped in his team’s locker room at Penn State, and the entire purpose of the NCAA continues to be ensuring that kids who have nothing continue to have nothing despite billions of dollars being made off their talents, it’s pretty damn hard for the moral outrage meter to register any indignation about college kids smoking pot.
Guess how many of the above stories ESPN broke last year?
Yeah, none of them.
But now ESPN is on the case.
Just wait until they find out that sexual activity between unmarried students is currently taking place on campus.
The horror, the horror.
Sexual activity between consenting adults is, of course, legal just like pot use is actually legal in many Pac 12 states. What’s more, pot actually makes you worse at your sport if it’s abused.
Which means pot use is the only college “scandal” that focuses on a performance decreasing substance.
Nevertheless, Oregon responded promptly to the ESPN story, releasing this statement from athletic director Rob Mullens to OKTC:
“Student-athlete welfare is of the utmost importance to the University of Oregon. Similar to many college campuses wrestling with the same issue, the University of Oregon actively works to address potential use of any illegal substance through a combination of education, prevention and enforcement activities. Student-athletes at the University of Oregon are tested for illegal substances to the full extent possible under existing Oregon state law, which prohibits random testing. We continue to work diligently to educate our student-athletes on the harmful impact of illegal substances. In addition, we have articulated our illegal substances policy to our student-athletes and have clearly defined sanctions for a positive test.”
Oregon’s statement is what you’d expect from an athletic department, but I think ESPN’s “expose” missed a more interesting story: Oregon state law would rather protect individual liberties than unfairly cast aspersions upon everyone by mandating random drug tests.
What a refreshing idea, civil liberties still exist in some states. In an age when players sign over their rights to the NCAA, some coaches won’t allow them to Tweet their opinions, and free speech is verbtoen, this is refreshing.
Some states are still protecting individual rights.
Since every school sets its own drug testing policy, could state legislatures pass laws that help recruiting? (This might be the only way to liberalize drug laws in Alabama. Nick Saban is on this.)
Indeed, per state statutes Oregon is only allowed to drug test players upon “reasonable suspicion” of drug use. Random tests are not permitted.
What is “reasonable suspicion?”
Oregon provided their drug testing policy to OKTC and it includes the following language:
(3) “Reasonable suspicion” shall not mean a mere “hunch” or “intuition.” It shall instead be based upon a specific event or occurrence which has led to the belief that a student-athlete has used any drugs which are specified in OAR 571-004-0025(5) and which could have or could have had an effect during a period of organized practice, conditioning, or competition or during a period of counseling for substance abuse or, in the case of steroids, during any period of pre-season conditioning or weight training.
(a) Such belief may be engendered by, among other things, direct observation by coaches, trainers, the team physician, or other appropriate personnel of physical or mental deficiency, medically indicated symptomology of tested-for drug use, aberrant or otherwise patently suspicious conduct, or of unexplained absenteeism.
(b) Such belief may also be engendered by, among other things, information supplied by reliable third parties, including but not limited to law enforcement officials, if the information is corroborated by objective facts, including but not limited to equivocal, contradictory, or unlikely and unsubstantiated explanation by the individual about whom the report is made or information which under the circumstances is credible based on specific articulable facts. Should information be proffered by law enforcement, prosecutorial or probation department officials, the University will use and act upon such information only if it obtains a written agreement that results of a potential test will not be used to prosecute or revoke parole for the use or ingestion of the drug disclosed by the test.
(c) Such belief may also be engendered by reasonable conclusions about observed or reliably described human behavior upon which practical people ordinarily rely.
(d) Such belief may also be engendered by a previous positive test under these procedures within the preceding twelve months.
Stat. Auth.: ORS 351 & ORS 352
Stats. Implemented: ORS 352.008
Hist.: UOO 7-1988(Temp), f. & cert. ef. 8-12-88; UOO 1-1989, f. 2-6-89, cert. ef. 2-9-89
If you fail three drug tests at Oregon you miss half the season, if you fail a fourth drug test you’re dismissed from the team.
The fact that college players and students smoke pot isn’t news, but it does raise an interesting question, couldn’t you have written similar exposes about beer and liquor consumption during prohibition?
I’m sure General Neyland and Fielding Yost were constantly upbraiding their players for breaking the law and consuming alcohol.
Now that seems downright quaint.
One day so will “scandals” over pot use.
Now if ESPN’s next expose is on the Oregon cheerleaders reckless and wanton partying.
Well, I’d love to read that story.
Pot smoking college athletes?
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