Sex, drugs and rock-n-roll is the theme of popular figures and stars in our society. In terms of athletes the rock-n-roll is supplemented with sports. Star athletes are been raised at young ages in today’s America, where professional athletes can make enough money in a few short years that will cover the rest of their lives. Sports have become part of the American structure. There is not a bar, restaurant, or home that does not have a sporting event projected on television screens. Sports are a around the clock and year activity for all. College sports are especially exciting because these are the future stars, playing for culture/family level allegiances, and play with a passion for the game that some professionals have lost. At the same time these athletes are still young adults; many are not even of the legal age to purchase alcohol. Yet, they are thrust into the spot light, while having to compete in the classroom at the same time. The pressure and stress that college athletes are under can seem insurmountable. Add the fact that the college atmosphere is an environment of substance abuse and binge drinking; it is surprising that nay make it out period. Is the NCAA properly handling drug and alcohol use among college athletes in Indiana?

Current Regulations and Victims

College students experiment with drugs and alcohol regularly. Statistics taken over the last few years show that the majority of students are engaging in risky behaviors involving drugs and alcohol. The problem with these studies is that students must volunteer to answer surveys truthfully. As any former or current college student will tell you, substance abuse and alcohol consumption happens at higher levels than a ‘majority’. A more significant estimation would be that more than 85% of college students have used or abused drugs and/or alcohol while at University. College athletes are privy to those same experiences, but are under strict regulations from the NCAA regarding drug use. Any college athlete that tests positive for a banned substance is suspended pending appeal or request for exemption by submitting the proper documents. Many students have lost scholarships, team position, and acceptance to that institution. The penalty for testing positive for performance enhancing drugs or street drugs is: losing a full year of eligibility and the second positive test is another year of lost eligibility and year withheld from competition. Many schools have suspended or expelled student athletes for multiple positive drug test results.

Is the NCAA Handling this Properly?

Whether the NCAA is handling this issue properly will depend on the individual being penalized and the audience of this argument. If the player is irresponsible and immature enough to continue to break the rules, then they should be penalized accordingly. There are rules in place for a reason, they should be followed, and enforced when necessary. What if the individual is struggling with a dependency issue or addiction? In this case the NCAA, along with the University, should seek treatment for the player and follow along with his/her progress. Addiction is a serious issue, which can be exponentially more dangerous if an addition mental illness is the cause or result of the addiction. Stress, anxiety, or depression can increase likelihood, as well as intensity, of an addiction from developing. Student athletes that are using or abusing drugs and alcohol should be given access to treatment that the University, with the advisement of the NCAA, provides for them.

Today’s College, Society, and Country’s Atmosphere

This argument goes far beyond understanding the black and white rhetoric of NCAA drug policy. College has become a place of rampant substance abuse and celebration. Our society has encouraged substance use and abuse for decades. The country itself is changing, in terms of how it views the use of certain substances and the way it handles abuse. Zero-tolerance policies and law enforcement have proven to be costly and inefficient. The NCAA, as well as Universities, should change their position on substance use and abuse. We are entering a very grey area in terms of policy, law, and illegal/legal substances use. The black and white conservative, pre-historic notion that everything can fit into a small neat box is just that; outdated. The NCAA must evolve along with the rest of the country.

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