NCAA Accused of Hiding Positive Drug Results

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There’s little doubt a financial incentive exists in college sports. Schools reap ad revenues and ticket sales by the bucket load. So there might be a motivation to overlook rule violations, even drug abuse if it might interfere with the cash machine.

An article at Rivals.com claims the NCAA is ignoring positive drugs tests in college athletes to avoid controversy. As evidence, they point to Syracuse with ten reported positive drug tests in a decade – an average of one a year. But privately, it is claimed, “the program was awash in positive drug tests and, in many cases, failed to adhere to its internal drug policy while playing ineligible players.”

This is college after all. Performance enhancing drugs aren’t all that is banned. How believable is it that players aren’t occasionally smoking some pot on the side?

Schools alert the NCAA of positive results, but then students may be retested, knowing they will be and with a chance to clean up for the test.

Some suggest dropping tests for illegal drugs altogether, pointing out that illegal drugs will only degrade performance, not enhance it. And there aren’t testing programs for college in general, just sports programs. Certainly you could test for academic performance enhancers, like Ritalin or other amphetamine-like drugs, but no one does and it seems like an invasion of privacy to do so.

So the real story is the hypocrisy on offer. To seem squeaky clean is the apparent objective, even though everyone knows things aren’t quite so immaculate. Organizations are falling into the same trap, over and over – appearance over substance. The end result is a cycle of scandal followed by reform, a claim of “everything straightened out now,” and a breather until the next round of scandal hits.

Although the expose is specifically about Syracuse, the rule of thumb is that if something shady is going on at one school, at least a few dozen others just haven’t been caught yet.

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