MC announces new athlete drug policy
When Maryville College athletes reported for their respective sports this year, they were welcomed by a major overhaul to the existing drug policy.
The new policy was adopted to prepare Maryville College athletes and stay ahead of the game before the NCAA institutes a similar policy next year.
Athletic trainer Grant Davis explained the benefits of the new policy.
“We brought on random testing because the NCAA is going to start testing more for Division III,” said Grant Davis, an athletic trainer at MC. “One, to identify and help those in need. Two, because we look out for our student athletes and we feel this is one way we can do that.”
The new program puts Maryville College on par with other teams in the USA South, as Davis added that Piedmont and Christopher Newport have similar programs.
The prior drug policy was used only on a causal basis. Athletes who were suspected for drug abuse were the only ones tested. The new program tests randomly, as well as for probable cause. This gives the athletic department the chance to detect drug abuse early and consistently.
Tests are designed to detect the use of alcohol, drugs and certain dietary supplements. The term “drug,” as used here, includes but is not limited to, the NCAA list of banned drug classes. The full list of NCAA banned substances can be found on their website.
This means the following are screened without limitation: marijuana (THC), PCP, opiates, MDMA (Ecstasty), amphetamines, cocaine, flunitrazepam (Rohypnol), anabolic steroids, CNS stimulants and misuse of prescription drugs as defined by state law.
Not all dietary supplements are banned. The reason for their inclusion into the policy is that though some products claim to be “natural,” they have dangers that cause them to be placed on the NCAA’s banned substance list.
Athletes are encouraged to take any supplements that they may currently be taking by the athletic training office to make sure the product is clear.
In the case of a positive test, the athlete is essentially given three strikes.
On a first offense, the athlete is suspended for 10% of his or her athletic season. If the positive test is in the athlete’s offseason, the sanction will carry over to the upcoming season. Upon meeting with the Athletic Intervention Team, the decision will also be made whether the athlete will participate in community service or need to attend counseling.
On a second offense, the athlete will be suspended for 50% of his or her season, along with being required to attend a sanctioned meeting with an AIT.
A third offense will result in the player being banned from any future athletic competition at Maryville College.
Positive tests are cumulative. If an athlete has one positive test from his or her freshman year, and they test positive again their junior year, it will be recorded as their second positive test.
Before an athlete is chosen to take a test, he or she is given the option to enroll in a Safe Harbor program. This program provides a safe place for the athlete to admit that he or she has a drug abuse problem, and then alongside the training staff can be placed in the best situation to overcome their problem.
The new drug policy is helping Maryville College athletics stay ahead of the future changes, while keeping MC in line with the progressive policies of other conference schools.
These changes ensure that student athletes, parents and college staff are operating in a drug-free environment. A copy of the new policy can be found on the MC Scots website.