ESPN The Magazine has published an unsparing expose on marijuana usage in college football. ESPN’s Sam Alipour has confirmed that, yes, multiple Oregon Duck football players have smoked marijuana in the past and may do so in the future. ESPN’s Mark Schlabach details universities’ “battle” with “the problem” and wonders when “the haze” will clear. Great work, gents. Looking forward to “The Mag” addressing the insidious premarital sex epidemic.
Should you choose to discuss a Marijuana “problem,” define the problem. Are we dealing with a moral issue, a legal issue or a competitive issue? Are we concerned with (A) players using marijuana occasionally and recreationally (B) players’ habitual usage affecting academic and/or athletic performance or (C) players become involved with dealing and criminal activity?
(C), as was recently reported at TCU, is a major problem. You don’t want players running criminal enterprises and risking prison terms, for their sake and the programs. (B) should be an issue, as with substance abuse of any sort, a player has access to counseling. (A) is probably not that big of a concern and far less worrisome than bar fights or drunk driving. If I’m Chip Kelly, I’m more concerned that one of my players was dumb enough to light up in front of an ESPN Reporter.
Is this a college football “problem” or a college problem? The NCAA study’s rate of 26.7 percent for college football players (probably low) likely does not differ significantly from the rate of collegiate usage from fans in the stadium or, for that matter, reporters in the press box.
The question should not be why schools aren’t testing kids to the “full extent possible.” It’s why are they testing them at all for recreational drugs. Schools claim these are college students. Universities don’t target segments of the student population without probable cause, force them to take drug tests and punish them based on the outcomes of those tests. They don’t do this to students on academic scholarships. That would be unreasonable and possibly illegal. What distinguishes a student-athlete in this regard besides their choice of extracurricular activity?
As Reuben Droughns points out, Eugene is “the weed capital of the world” with “Long dreads. Girls with hairy armpits.” The same could be said of Ann Arbor and other college towns. That’s a “drug culture.” Schools do not embrace that reputation, but nor are they pledging scorched earth policies against recreational marijuana usage among students and faculty members.
When it is white kids, marijuana usage is a youthful phase and part of the campus charm. Why, when it comes to football and basketball players, do we have a “problem?”
[Photo via Presswire]