As multiple states in the United States have eased up on marijuana use, it has been a long road for organizations to also embrace such policies. It looks like Rutgers is going to be one of the first to not punish their athletes as harshly.
NJ Advanced Media was able to get a hold of the Rutgers athletic department’s new policies on drug usage. It will be fascinating to see whether or not this ends up as a standard bearer to those in the NCAA.
Here is the policy, according to NJ Advanced Media, and most of the policy does involve some sort of rehabilitation in the wording.
— A first violation for a performance-enhancing drug (PED) or other hard-drug substance such as cocaine or heroin will result in the athlete receiving a suspension for between “0 to 10 percent” of one season of competition. A first failed marijuana test won’t result in a suspension.
— A second PED or hard-drug violation will result in a suspension from approximately 10-to-25 percent of a season, while a second marijuana failed test will require a suspension from 0 to 10 percent of the current or upcoming season.
— A third PED or hard-drug violation will result in a suspension from approximately 30 to 100 percent of the season, while a third marijuana violation will result in a 10-to-25-percent-of-the-season suspension.
— A fourth PED or hard-drug violation will result in the dismissal from the team, while a fourth marijuana violation mandates the 30-to-100 percent game suspension.
— A fifth violation for marijuana use will result in the dismissal from the team.
For first time offenders, if they end up failing once and then go a year without committing another violation, they can get the previous violation expunged. It is an extremely forgiving policy, and will be a situation to monitor in the years ahead.
Rutgers AD Pat Hobbs has a belief that the policy is fair and in line with many in the NCAA.
“It balances our concerns for our student-athletes’ well-being with our desire to provide rehabilitation where necessary, and sanction when appropriate, including expulsion from the team ultimately. In the end I think it’s a fair policy, and I think it’s one that’s consistent with the other FBS schools.”
As marijuana usage continues to grow in today’s America, many will need to adapt to the changing times. Rutgers likely won’t be the last institution to classify marijuana differently from other substances.