The following article was written by Spencer Wingate.
Syracuse University self-reported potential violations of their drug policy several months ago, which has led to an NCAA inquiry. Yahoo! Sports reported that at least ten players starting in the 2000-01 season tested positive for banned recreational substance(s). The violations should have resulted in suspensions, but the players were allowed to play in games and participate in practices. Yahoo! cited that one player failed four drug tests but received no punishment. Syracuse stated that the violations were over the past decade, and no current student-athletes have violated drug protocol. The NCAA now must determine who was ineligible yet still participated. The time period of the drug violations include the lone national title season in 2003.
The NCAA has no uniform policy regarding drug testing or punishment. The member institutions are allowed to police themselves and determine their individual policy. When the NCAA tournament begins later this month, the organization will begin random tests through the National Center for Drug-Free Sport of every team at each game. Schools are not mandated to institute a drug policy, which leads certain schools to wait until post-season play before student-athletes are ever tested. Syracuse broke their own policy and self-reported the allegations, leading to the assumption sanctions handed down by the NCAA will be lenient. The notion is completely valid as Syracuse did violate a policy they voluntary instituted. They did not attempt to cover-up the allegations, and instead, openly came clean. In another view, they broke a policy and levied no sanctions – lacking institutional control. The bigger issue presented with the situation is the NCAA’s lack of uniformity and accountability. They have no problem enforcing restrictions with paying athletes, booster involvement, campus visits, etc. The NCAA claims these rules must be established for the betterment of student-athletes and to protect them. Why should the association not be held responsible for establishing a universal drug policy or protocol as well? It seems that would better serve the welfare of not only student-athletes, but also their universities.