The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) governs intercollegiate athletics, as well as drug testing for college student-athletes of its member institutions. All NCAA member institutions must abide by NCAA bylaws. Within the bylaws are rules governing the use and prohibition of performance enhancing drugs by student athletes.
NCAA member institutions and conferences often create and implement their own drug testing programs, which can vary considerably. Under NCAA bylaws, the first positive test for
The NCAA Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports (CSMAS)
At CSMAS’s June 2016 meeting, it elected to explore a new drug-testing consent form that would require student-athletes to acknowledge receipt of the list of banned drugs and an advisory on the risk of using nutritional and/or dietary supplements. Presumably, this change would make it more difficult for student-athletes to claim that they were unaware that certain drugs were banned or that nutritional supplements might contain banned substances. Moreover, CSMAS determined that there should be no recording, in any form, of NCAA drug-testing specimen collections because of confidentiality and privacy concerns.
Also, CSMAS declined to create a
Recently, the NCAA has faced criticism regarding the testing and penalties for the use of “street drugs,” and marijuana in particular. Studies have shown that marijuana may actually hinder athletic performance. According to one 2014 NCAA study, 22 percent of NCAA athletes reported using marijuana.
Despite the growth of marijuana use by student athletes, the CSMAS elected to continue to ban it and other performance-altering substances. These banned drugs, now called “illicit drugs,” will still continue to include heroin, marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and synthetic cannabinoids, among other substances.
Best Practices for NCAA Member Institutions
Below are a few practical tips NCAA member institutions may want to consider implementing:
→ Develop a written policy on drug and alcohol use, covering drug testing policies and medication disclosure.
→ Ensure that student-athletes are familiar with the list of NCAA-banned drugs and understand that dietary supplements may contain banned substances.
→ Make sure that a medical review officer is in place to address any positive results.
→ Educate student-athletes and athletic staff on the implementation of all drug testing policies.
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