At the same time, however, the NCAA is reducing its threshold for college athletes to 5ng/dl from 15ng/dl.
Changes in Marijuana Use Philosophy
Both WADA and the NCAA acknowledge that marijuana is not a performance-enhancing drug.
The only real room for debate there seems to be in regard to its use as a pain reliever / analgesic, particularly in regard to combat sports where pain is a huge factor.
WADA easing their threshold can be seen as an acceptance that many people use marijuana – legal or not – and it isn’t their place to regulate what people do weeks in advance of an event if it isn’t affecting their performance.
The NCAA tightening their testing is being done not out of performance concerns but because of image issues. They are all about maintaining a good public image, and having athletes get tangled in illegal drug use is very detrimental to that.
What Implications Does This Have?
The changes to WADA guidance will take a while to roll out, as it merely sets the International Standard for Testing, which then has to be adopted by a wide number of sports agencies.
The first to act on these new guidelines will probably be the state athletic commissions, boxing, and MMA organizations that regulate drug testing for combat sports. Marijuana testing has been in the news several times recently as several prominent fighters have seen huge suspensions and fines for their use of the drug.
NCAA Athletes: It’s Here for Fall 2013, and It’s StrictThe NCAA change goes into effect beginning during the 2013 Fall semester and will probably result in a sharp upturn in the number of suspensions handed down for marijuana initially, as athletes will be failing tests based on consumption up to a month before their test.
Athletic programs will probably be beating the drum very loudly on the issue as a result, because no big school wants to lose a star athlete for a year.
A Word to the Wise Collegiate Athlete…
In short, our recommendations to NCAA athletes – this summer, you better put the joint down sooner than later. Otherwise these new policies will burn you.