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Thursday, May 24, 2018

Syracuse reportedly ignored players’ positive drug tests

Yahoo! Sports is on the case again, this time nabbing Syracuse for reportedly violating its internal drug policy. The report says the school’s basketball program overlooked positive drug tests by some of its players and either miscounted positive tests, or just continued to play players who should have been suspended based on the athletic department’s drug policy.

The most serious examples of Syracuse ignoring positive drug tests are the charges from Yahoo! that “at least one player continued to play after failing four tests and another player played after failing three.”

The report states at least 10 players since 2001 tested positive for a recreational drug, which most people are assuming is weed.

There is no NCAA drug policy for its member schools, but each school’s athletic department has its own policy. Last November, CBS showed the inconsistencies in drug policies when it came to NCAA football programs. We can imagine that there is similar variance when it comes to basketball programs.

I have two thoughts on this — one about Syracuse, and one about Yahoo! Sports. With Syracuse, though a player smoking some weed is not a huge deal, the school intentionally breaking its rules is a bad precedent. By overlooking positive drug tests, you’re placing the importance of winning basketball games above following rules. You’re also doing the athletes a big disservice because you’re sending two messages: one, being a basketball player gives you preferential treatment; two, you’re allowing them to get away with smoking weed, which isn’t good preparation for the NBA when players would get in trouble for positive tests.

Lastly, Yahoo! Sports has once again perfectly timed a program-shaking report. They published this report on the Monday of the Big East conference tournament, a week ahead of the NCAA tournament. If anyone knows how to rattle a successful program and maximize attention to their reports, it’s them.

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