GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 02:  A member of the Stanford Cardinal marching band performs against the Oklahoma State Cowboys during the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl on January 2, 2012 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

Report: Schools are lessening penalties on athletes for marijuana use

An AP exclusive report published in the early hours of Monday revealed that at least one-third of Power Five conference schools have lessened the blow when it comes to punishing athletes for positive marijuana and other recreational drug tests. The AP analyzed the policies for 57 of the 65 schools in those conferences, plus Notre Dame.

The report states that the NCAA’s chief medical officer wants the institution to get out of testing for recreational drugs altogether when it comes to student athletes. The AP’s report found that some of the biggest universities in the nation have lessened their penalties with the ever-changing societal views.

One of the noted schools that has eased their punishments is Oregon, where recreational use is now legal. At Washington, where a third failed test would be a year-long suspension, it’s now just 30 days.

One finding by the AP in particular should come as no surprise:

Alcohol remains by far the most abused substance on college campuses, with marijuana ranking second. In the most recent NCAA survey of athletes (2013), 70.9 percent of Division I football players acknowledged using alcohol in the previous 12 months and 19.3 percent acknowledged using marijuana or synthetic marijuana. In men’s basketball, reported use was 58.1 percent for alcohol and 11.3 percent for marijuana/synthetic marijuana.

Randy Gregory, current Dallas Cowboy and former Nebraska Cornhuskers defense end had tested positive for marijuana, which hurt his draft stock last year. Gregory mentions in the report that although the Big Ten would come in for testing, whether it be PEDs or marijuana, guys weren’t too worried, considering only around 12 guys would be tested, per Gregory.

Right now, athletes who test positive for PEDs get a year-long suspension, with the most recent example being Florida quarterback Will Grier. In the AP report, NCAA medical chief Dr. Brian Hainline says that he would like for the NCAA to let the schools enact the punishment for athletes who test positive for PEDs.

Hainline says that, “The most important thing that I can’t emphasize enough is that as a society, we have to make a clear distinction between recreational drug use and cheating.”

There will almost assuredly be reform when it comes to the drug testing policies of the NCAA and its Power Five schools, whether it be because of outside influence, or simply just changes in society.


Harry Lyles Jr.

About Harry Lyles Jr.

Harry Lyles Jr. is an Atlanta-based writer, and a Georgia State University graduate.