3 years after Mullens’s pee to play policy, schools ease pot penalties

The AP has the report here:

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — At least one-third of the Power Five conference schools are not punishing athletes as harshly as they were 10 years ago for testing positive for marijuana and other so-called recreational drugs, according to an investigation by The Associated Press.

The NCAA last year cut in half the penalty for athletes who fail screenings for substances like marijuana at its championship events, and its chief medical officer is pushing for college sports’ governing body to get out of the business of testing for rec drugs altogether. The AP found that some of the nation’s biggest universities, from Oregon to Auburn, have already eased their punishments as society’s views on marijuana use have changed. …

They must mean Oregon State. UO’s policy could not be more draconian:

The program shall also describe potential sanctions for repeated use or abuse of substances for which tests are conducted. However, a student-athlete may be dismissed from the team and lose all athletic financial aid, beginning with the next academic term after a single positive test result.

Oregon AD Rob Mullens tried to get his Random Pot testing policy through the UO Senate in 2012, in an effort to reduce embarrassing “we smoked it all” publicity that might cut into his profits:

The Senate fought back, leading to this threatening email from General Counsel Randy Geller to UO Senate President Rob Kyr and IAC Chair Brian McWhorter:

Screen Shot 2015-12-28 at 8.43.44 PM

Interestingly, former UO President Dave Frohnmayer, as Oregon Attorney General, had thought a previous attempt to randomly test athletes was “probably unconstitutional”:

The RG story is from 1987, and is about the last time UO tried this. A runner and a wrestler fought back, and got the ACLU and then the Oregon DOJ on their side, and they won.

But in 2012 Mullens sidestepped the Senate, and got what he wanted – or what he thought he wanted. Oregon Administrative Rule 571-004 took effect March 4, 2013. It allows the Duck athletics department to randomly test “student-athletes” for use of illicit drugs, and take away their scholarships if they fail one test:

The program shall also describe potential sanctions for repeated use or abuse of substances for which tests are conducted. However, a student-athlete may be dismissed from the team and lose all athletic financial aid, beginning with the next academic term after a single positive test result.

Of course now that UO has an independent board, this is now a UO policy. And given its obvious academic consequences presumably AVP Chuck Triplett will be bringing it to the Senate for revision pretty soon, at Rob Mullens’s request.

Tough to recruit players, when you’ve got a draconian drug policy like that on the books!

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