Rob Mullens drives another student-athlete to drink

2/23/2014: UO BBaller caught using a fake ID (a passport?) at Taylor’s. Coach Dana Altman desperately needs this kid in the next few games to save his season, have any chance of making the NCAA tournament, and get some bonuses to top off his $1.8M salary. We’ll see how many games he suspends him for. Maybe Mullens should do what the Russians did at Sochi and relax his THC threshold? Keep these players safe in the Courtside Apartments, doing cannonballs on the couch.

10/12/2012: A little data and theory:

  • August 2011, Duck cornerback Cliff Harris busted for driving 118 MPH after “we smoked it all”.
  • April 2012, ESPN published a story on widespread weed use by Duck athletes.
  • September 2012, Duck athletic director Rob Mullens begins random drug testing of his players for marijuana. This raises the expected cost of smoking pot and lowers the relative cost of drinking. Players, as rational optimizers, substitute toward the cheaper good.
  • UO General Counsel Randy Geller accuses Senate President Rob Kyr and IAC chair Brian McWhorter of “false and misleading” statements about his efforts to subvert the law and implement an OAR allowing random pot testing and taking away scholarships.
  • People smoke pot at home, then fall asleep on their dorito encrusted couch. They drink in bars, then try to drive home.
  • October 2012, Duck defensive tackle Isaac Remington busted for driving drunk.

For more, see this UO economist’s work, here:

The current study examines the relationship between the legalization of medical marijuana and traffic fatalities, the leading cause of death among Americans ages 5 through 34.  The first full year after coming into effect, legalization is associated with an 8 to 11 percent decrease in traffic fatalities.

10/15/2012: More on Drugs:

1) Pres Gottfredson (in his Senate speech) said the new random drug testing policy is not an academic matter. This claim is contradicted by many things. The OAR itself states:

(3) Illicit Substances. If the student-athlete tests positive for the use of prohibitedIllicit Substances, 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 thought appropriate, a student- athlete may be dismissed from the team and lose all grant-in-aid after a single positive test.

Losing all your student aid because of one positive random urine test for pot or adderall strikes me as a very consequential academic matter. I know I would have had to have been pretty lucky to have finished college under this rule.


2) In the justification of the OAR, General Counsel Randy Geller’s office said it was an academic matter:

Need for the Rule(s):

The University of Oregon has compelling interests in deterring drug use by its student-athletes. First, the University seeks to educate its student-athletes about the detrimental effects of drug use on their health, safety, academic work, and future careers. …

3) Associate Athletic Director Gary Gray told the Senate the NCAA did not require schools to do random testing for marijuana. But the GC followed the sentence above with

… Second, the University must abide by NCAA rules and uphold the integrity of its Department of Intercollegiate Athletics (Athletic Department). …

Which is a false or very misleading justification – UO does not need to adopt this policy to abide by NCAA rules. Gary Gray told the Senate that “a recent court decision, within the last couple of years,” (or something to that effect) allowed Oregon schools to to random marijuana testing, and that this was in part the reason for the rush job for this OAR. I googled that decision during the Senate meeting, it turns out the Vernonia decision was 1995: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vernonia_School_District_47J_v._Acton. So why not tell the Senate the truth for the sudden rush? People should not be subject to unreasonable search and seizure without probable cause. That Second Amendment principle is more important than embarrassing a football team and the NCAA by smoking a little pot. The fact that the Ducks discourage their athletes from talking to reporters about this, without approval, adds to the seriousness of this restriction of freedom.

Gary Gray repeatedly claimed that this policy was being done for the athlete’s own benefit. But we’ve seen no evidence that random testing for marijuana reduces overall drug and alcohol abuse. See below for a study suggesting the opposite.
The attempted intimidation of the IAC and Senate by Randy Geller with the implicit threat of a defamation lawsuit:

Dear Rob and Brian:

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.

Randolph Geller 

General Counsel
University of Oregon

This is not the first time that UO’s General Counsel has used this sort of threat to try and shut up the faculty.

10/15/2012 update: Sam Stites reports in the ODE:

“I’m always interested in taking advice from the University Senate,” Gottfredson said. “But I think the question here is, ‘Is this an administrative decision?’ and I think it appropriately is so.” 

“The rule itself defines it as an academic matter, not the senate,” Kyr said. “It’s not a matter of our opinion, it’s what is said in the rule.”

My opinion? If Gottfredson wants to force the students to take drug tests without reasonable suspicion or probable cause he should at least get his facts right, and find a competent legal advisor to make his case to the Senate.

10/23/2012:

Jack Moran of the RG reports Duck player Isaac Remington only blew an 0.06 and he will not be charged.

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20 Responses to Rob Mullens drives another student-athlete to drink

  1. Anonymous says:

    That 95 percent of NCAA institutions do it is no justification for it. The rule has clear implications on education at the UO, and is therefore of material importance to the senate. If the senate desires, we could become a model for the rest of the country in pushing this to the administration with a strong position against such testing. Not a bad constitutional test, I’d say.

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  2. Anonymous says:

    If 95% of the football team smoked pot would we argue the holdouts should light up too?

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  3. uomatters says:

    Mullens also argues that since none of the other PAC-12 schools let players talk to the press without permission UO shouldn’t either.

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  4. Anonymous says:

    ODE not RG

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  5. uomatters says:

    thanks, fixed

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  6. Anonymous says:

    “… If thought appropriate.” That certainly sounds like the sort of careful procedure that would prevent a discharged student from suing UO over a ruined career.

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  7. Awesome0 says:

    He got lucky/had a good lawyer. There is no .08 standard of bac for drunk driving in Oregon. The cop says you are drunk. You are drunk. Drunk driving records don’t even have records of bac. We are the only state in the US with such vague guidelines about drunk driving.

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  8. Anonymous says:

    Isaac wasn’t drunk, and the car was stopped for something stupid and disrespectful that a passenger was responsible for, rather than any sort of indication of impaired driving. Move on.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Awesome0 called it correctly. It doesn’t matter what the original stop was for. If the cop thinks you’re impaired and you’ve had any alcohol, that’s a DUII in Oregon. The .08 limit means that over that amount the cop doesn’t have to even think you’re impaired, the law automatically considers you impaired.

      Anyone else would be ponying up $1000s for the fine, fees, attorney costs, etc. and freeing up their calendar for the mandatory AA meetings, court appearances, victim impact panel, DMV hearing, and maybe some more jail time. Anyone else who didn’t have a great attorney or get special treatment or both.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Good thing too. It will be nice to have him back with plenty of time to prepare for the USC game.

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  9. Awesome0 says:

    Likewise, for someone his size and weight, he would have to drink six beers within one hour to blow a .06 (even more if he had been at a bar for a couple of hours, and he was driving home at 12:30 in the morning). Furthermore, if they used a portable breath tester, those are quite noisy in discerning actual BAC, (the correlation between a portable breath test and actual bac is only about .7). Furthermore, if he had been drinking recently, he’s BAC could actually still be going up, but in Oregon, because BAC is not a necessary piece of evidence, they woudn’t test BAC at multiple points like most other states do (most require at least two independent samples on real breathalyzers, not portable ones).

    However, at the end of the day, this isn’t about a student who is guilty of at least reckless driving, if not drunk driving. The issue is policies encouraging reckless behavior in unnecessary ways.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Six coors lights or oakshire oatmeal stouts? Big difference.

      What does, “policies encouraging reckless behavior in unnecessary ways” mean, anyway? Sounds like something the senate should occupy itself with.

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    • uomatters says:

      Good Q for Awesome0. All my reckless behavior is absolutely necessary.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Dog reminds UOmatters

      blogs and rants are not reckless behavior –
      rocket launchers are reckless behavior.

      the problem is that we all work at an institution where

      “Disruption is NOT Allowed” and Disruptive Ideas will not be tolerated. Indeed, the big ideas lollapalooza actually contained a few disruptive ideas. Those were clearly not
      tolerated.

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  10. Beaver says:

    Didn’t you just start a UOPD to keep the Jail Duck’s legal problems out of the papers? Can’t the UO cops do their job and get to Taylor’s before the EPD? What a bummer, man, so sorry for Altman.

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    • Vlad says:

      I am shocked, shocked that one our undergraduates would present a fake Id at a bar.

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      • uomatters says:

        At least he didn’t succumb to the demon weed.

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  11. Sochified says:

    I say we need to follow the IOC’s lead and ban over the counter allergy medication too.

    http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=706167

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  12. Just one drink? says:

    I’ve been doing a little research on this tonight, and I’m pretty confident that the marginal rate of substitution is 1 bong hit to 2 beers. Assuming (conservatively) that there are 10 student-athletes who partake, and that random drug testing has kept each from doing 100 bong hits, that means he’s driven them to 2,000 drinks.

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    • uomatters says:

      Conservative to be sure, but you’re ignoring the fact that the penalty also reduces the player’s effective income. I haven’t seen estimates of the income elasticity for pot, but it’s high for college students and alcohol. So let’s call it 1,950 drinks.

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