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In a landmark decision on Tuesday, likely in partial response to Shabazz Napier’s “starving” comments after UConn basketball’s national title victory, the NCAA Legislative Council approved a motion to allow student athletes unlimited meals and snacks. But the council didn’t stop there, as it instituted so called “student-athlete well-being” rules.
With what surely would’ve been 1998 Heisman winner Ricky Williams’s dream scenario, the council is also closely examining a proposal to reduce a full-season ban to a half-season ban from play if players test positive for smoking pot. Both the lessened sanctions on marijuana usage and the unlimited meal plans are expected to receive final approval when the NCAA Division I Board of Directors reconvenes to vote on April 24.
I guess you can say it really reflects the changing face of our nation.
At the moment, if the NCAA drug-tests you at a bowl game or NCAA Championship and you test positive for any of its banned substances, you’re suspended from your sport for a full season. That’s especially harsh when you consider that some schools don’t suspended their athletes for a single game for a first positive test for, say, marijuana.
Under the proposal the Council approved and the Board of Directors must ratify, a positive NCAA-administered test for a street drug such as marijuana will get you suspended from your sport for only half a season. The full-season penalty will remain if you test positive for performance-enhancing drugs such as steroids.
“Street drugs are not performance-enhancing in nature, and this change will encourage schools to provide student-athletes the necessary rehabilitation,” an NCAA news release said.
So let’s get this straight.
Universities already steadily avoid major reprimand for marijuana use if a star athlete is in question, and now the NCAA is saying it’s going to lessen the penalties on the biggest scale of all: the post-season?
There are literally going to be dozens of defensive linemen around the country eating the entire cost of their scholarships in the first six weeks of the season, no doubt about it.
I understand the NCAA’s proponents cite marijuana’s proven effectiveness in rehabilitation, which is definitely what college football players predominantly use it for, but in connection with the unlimited food availability, it looks like schools might just see a massive rise in expenditures from their academic departments’ budgets within the “food expenses” category.
Damn, the Honey Badger really missed the window by a few years.
Image via Getty