Did UO’s new random drug testing program detect his use? Did he get counseling and help, or did the athletic department just encourage him to leave, in an effort to save the football team potential embarrassment? Did they threaten to take away his scholarship and effectively kick him out of school? Ruin any chance of a pro career? Suggest that instead it might be best for him to leave on his own, in exchange for a supportive piece from Duck PR flack Rob Moseley, to counteract the skepticism about his draft prospects from reporters?
Last year the UO Senate and its Intercollegiate Athletics Committee came under extraordinary pressure from Athletic Director Rob Mullens, interim President Bob Berdahl, and General Counsel Randy Geller to approve a new drug testing policy, with limited public discussion. This link has more. The Oregon Administrative Rule on this, as finally adopted, is here. Page down to:
Athletic Department Substance Use and Drug Testing
Introduction and Purpose
(1) The University of Oregon has a compelling interest in prohibiting and deterring drug use by student-athletes. The University educates its student-athletes about the detrimental effects of drug use on health, safety, academic work, and careers. The University must abide by National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) rules. Because student-athletes are viewed as University representatives, the University has an interest in promoting drug-free and healthful lifestyles to the community through its athletic program.
My read is that the rule gives the athletic department extraordinary power, not just to kick a player off the team, but to take away their financial aid, and effectively kick them out of school by taking away their scholarship. The IAC and the Senate fought this, but we lost:
(3) Illicit Substances. If the student-athlete tests positive for the use of an Illicit Substance, the sanctions will be consistent with the sanctions listed in this subsection. These sanctions define the least severe sanctions that may be taken after each positive test. Notwithstanding the sanctions outlined in this subsection, if concluded to be appropriate, a student-athlete may be dismissed from the team and lose all athletic financial aid after a single positive test.
“Concluded to be appropriate” on what grounds, and by whom? People with a financial interest in minimizing damage to the Duck brand? The pressure from Randy Geller to stifle public discussion and get the faculty to approve this policy was intense:
Dear [Senate President Rob Kyr] and [IAC Chair Brian McWhorter]:
I received your email of July 24, 2012, requesting a delay in the public hearing scheduled for August 23rd, 2012. The hearing will be rescheduled for September 13, 2012. Written comments will be accepted until noon on September 14, 2012. We will similarly postpone the date the rule will be filed with the Secretary of State and become final. The rule will be filed on September 21, 2012.
Your allegations about the University’s rulemaking processes are offensive and false , as are the comments made publicly by members of the Intercollegiate Athletics Committee. I ask that you apologize in writing to President Berdahl, Rob Mullens, and me. I also ask that you censure the members of the IAC who have published offensive and defamatory comments.
University of Oregon
President Gottfredson took charge the next day, and he was much more open to discussion. More on the Senate debate on this policy is at http://senate.uoregon.edu/content/minutes-uo-senate-meeting-october-10-2012