Sometimes, it’s not an oxymoron.
The NCAA Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports recommended extensive changes to the NCAA’s drug-testing policies when it convened in mid-December in Indianapolis.
The committee’s recommendations, which will be further developed into a formal legislative proposal, were twofold: first, strengthen the NCAA drug-testing program for performance-enhancing substances; second, development of a shared model of deterrence for recreational drug use (e.g. marijuana, alcohol and opiates) with a focus on educational programs instead of a traditional testing model. Under this approach the responsibility for deterrence will be shared between the NCAA and member schools. Use of recreational drugs should absolutely be discouraged, the committee members said; but because they do not provide a competitive advantage, alternative approaches to testing should be developed.
I suspect this approach was spurred by the suspension of Oregon’s Darren Carrington before the national title game, but whatever works.
It raises an interesting question with regard to the home team, though. What happens if the NCAA proposes something that is less stringent than Georgia’s recreational drug policy? Remember, we’re the institution on a mission to bring the rest of the college football world up to the standards of the Georgia Way. Would the school stand firm if the rest of D-1 adopted a uniform drug policy that was less harsh?
I’m not sure I want to hear the answer to that.