24/7 the NCAA bans the use of Illicit drugs. Marijuana medical and recreational use laws vary from state to state.

The NCAA drug-testing program, along with clear policies and effective education, protects student-athletes who play by the rules by playing clean. The purpose of the drug-testing program is to deter student-athletes from using performance-enhancing drugs, and it impacts the eligibility of student-athletes who try to cheat by using banned substances.

The NCAA tests for steroids, peptide hormones and masking agents year-round and also tests for stimulants and recreational drugs during championships. Member schools also may test for these substances as part of their athletics department drug-deterrence programs. [NCAA, Sports Science Institute, 20185-2019]

“It takes a lot for a Rutgers football player to get thrown off the team for smoking marijuana.Five positive tests, to be exact.That’s a lot of pot.

That’s also not an outrageous tolerance policy for college athletics these days. “The NCAA and its member schools are increasingly breaking out marijuana testing from those involving sinister performance-enhancing drugs.

“Some test for them separately. Some test for them less frequently. All of it reflects the fact pot is more socially acceptable than ever, and when it comes to sports, it definitely isn’t performance-enhancing.

“I think in five years, [marijuana testing] is going to be gone,” said Christian Dennie, a Fort Worth, Texas-based attorney who has helped negotiate, challenge and write drug policy at professional and amateur levels.

“It’s certainly trending that way. Four years ago, the NCAA and its members made their own statement. The penalty for a positive marijuana test was cut in half from a year to six months.

“That is something that works for us,” explained Paul Perrier, Rutgers’ compliance director. “Our athletic director has a very liberal [stance] to marijuana because he feels like New Jersey is going to legalize it.”

“The NCAA’s 2014 scaling back of marijuana sanctions basically piggybacked on a trend. As far back as 2010, the NCAA’s competitive safeguards committee concluded a marijuana positive was not “considered cheating” the same way as a performance-handing drug.

Society is more tolerant. Recreational marijuana use has been legalized in nine states plus Washington, D.C. Thirteen states have decriminalized — but not legalized — marijuana. Medicinal marijuana is allowed in 30 states.  A majority of Americans support legalization of pot. That support has more than doubled this century.

“The NCAA continues to test for it but only at championship events.

Dr. Brian Hainline, the NCAA’s chief medical officer says marijuana addiction — not talked about as much as dependency to alcohol or harder drugs — is absolutely real.”The marijuana that we knew 30 years ago [does not compare] to what we know now,” he said.

At some point, that creates a discussion about the medicinal uses of the drug. Hainline will be part of a conference next week with the Department of Defense and U.S. Olympic Committee on pain management.

Speaking to marijuana as a playing aid, Hainline said, “These are questions we really have to answer. Like with concussions and mental health, we’re not waiting 35 years.”

Former Colorado State running back Treyous Jerrells told The Coloradoan two years ago that he couldn’t play without smoking. Jerrells was fighting pain from a surgically repaired knee. “I practiced under the influence,” he told the newspaper. “I played games under the influence. This is my medicine. I’ve seen players at CSU pop five, 10 ibuprofens before practice. Daily. You think that’s good? Over the course of two, three years, that’s eating your liver away. I’m not ashamed of what I did.”

“To address all of it, the NCAA points to its Substance Abuse Prevention and Intervention tool kit. On Page 22 is a Marijuana Education Infographic that sums up why anyone should care at all about marijuana and football Saturdays.

“In the lower-left-hand corner of the infographic is an avatar of an athlete in distress, his right hand pressed to his forehead.It is obvious he is high.

Marijuana,” it reads, “has NO performance enhancing potential.” In fact marijuana is detrimental to performance. Why test for it?

[Marijuana and college football: Softening penalties signal an important, modern shift, As pot becomes more accepted in society, the NCAA and college programs are slowly following suiT, by Dennis Dodd @dennisdoddcbs, Jul 6, 2018 ]

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