In sports reporters this week, our discussion was over the NCAA drug testing policy and whether we agree with the rules or not. Personally, I am a fan of the drug testing policy. I believe that it holds every student athlete to an equal playing field. However, there are some flaws that stick out to me within the guidelines that the NCAA follows when testing athletes and teams.
According to NCAA.org, “Each NCAA member school is responsible for determining whether to establish an institutional drug-testing program, at which time the school would be responsible for determining applicable penalties. If a testing program is established, though, the school is obligated to enforce the penalties. Failure to do so can lead to NCAA sanctions.” I think this rule should definitely be rewritten. It should be MANDATORY for schools to have penalties for student athletes who fail drug tests, and the schools should have to report failures to the NCAA right away. I have not only heard, but have been around schools where coaches have just “slapped a star player on the wrist” for failing a drug test. To me, that is unjust and not morally right. Your “star” is breaking the rules of not only your team but of the NCAA. A way to fix this I think would be to have the NCAA be at the school when the coaches are testing their athletes. Then, the NCAA could know first hand as to who has passed and who has failed the drug test. I also think that the coaches of teams should be required to send in every pass and fail into the NCAA committee. If they do not, they should also have consequences for coaches.
Another rule that I do not like that the NCAA has with their drug testing policy is that they let institutions know when they are coming with a drug test to a certain team. I feel as if this gives the athletes that are doing these illegal drugs time to be one step ahead of the game. There are so many drinks, pills, and other types of ways to cleanse your body so many hours before a drug test is given. I have personally experienced watching a conversation between athletes before a drug test talking about how they will get whatever drug they have taken out of their systems by drinking a certain drink. I think the NCAA should just show up without notifying coaches when they are testing any team. If you truly want to cut out the drug use with teams, you should test the student athletes without them knowing when the testing date is coming.
Amongst these few flaws, one rule stuck out to me that I really like within the drug testing policy. According to jurismagazine.com, the NCAA states that “Student-athletes who test positive or provide three or more dilute urine samples may be tested at any time following a positive test . After any suspensions, students will be given an “exit test” which includes testing for all listed banned substances. Id.” I think that this is a great rule that keeps consistency throughout the NCAA. If a student athlete tests positive for a drug and says they “are just going to quit doing it”, they probably will not at all. If you are doing something that becomes a habit, it is very hard for you just to wake up and quit one day. By testing these athletes that have failed the test once, this keeps them on track to hopefully quit taking illegal drugs within the season.
Personally, I think that the first step into making the drug testing policy better is to give coaches a requirement to turn in all fails from their team. Nothing frustrates me more is when I hear a team just gives their athletes a “don’t do it again” speech rather than an actual consequence. Athletes who do these illegal drugs should be punished for breaking the rules.