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Thursday, May 30, 2013
SEC considering league-wide drug policy

By Edward Aschoff

DESTIN, Fla. -- As the SEC bigwigs meet in sunny Florida for this year's spring meetings, talk continues about the league considering a conference-wide substance abuse policy.

If passed by the presidents this week, the SEC would be the first conference to have its own uniform drug policy.

Here's a little from our newser:
The penalties for a first, second or third positive test would be the same for each conference school and not determined by the individual schools.

It is not definite that the presidents will have enough support to bring it to a vote, but the fact it's even being discussed at the president level is significant, Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity said.

"I don't think it's necessary to get down into the weeds as far as how many times you test, what are the measurements, what are the minimum [levels for a positive test]," McGarity said, "but we believe there should be some type of consistent penalty [for each positive test]."

Based on the substance-abuse policies obtained by ESPN from the schools' official websites or through public records requests, a student-athlete at Alabama, Arkansas, Florida and LSU is dismissed after a fourth positive test, while the remaining 10 SEC schools dismiss a student-athlete after a third positive test.

The schools' substance-abuse policies are for recreational drugs – such as marijuana, heroin, cocaine and ecstasy. Each university determines the punishment for each positive test.

This is a tricky situation for the presidents because schools have vastly differing opinions about drug testing and what they deem is the right way to do it. As ESPN colleague Brett McMurphy points out, it shouldn't be as difficult for the schools to agree on punishment, but the amount of testing, type of testing and what is considered a positive test could all be viewed differently by each school.

There's also a sense that some schools are too lenient when it comes to testing, and maybe some schools think a new uniform policy could be too much.

"Even if nobody else does [testing], we're going to do what we think is the right thing to do," Texas A&M athletic director Eric Hyman said. "If another school wants to do it a certain way and regulate it a certain way, that's their prerogative. What are we trying to do anyway? We're trying to help young people. I don't want another school to tell me how to do it."