SEC discussing league-wide drug policy

Kelly Lambert

SEC presidents and other league officials are weighing the merits of a league-wide drug policy.

For the second straight year, SEC officials are talking about a league-wide substance-abuse policy that would bring consistency to the way violations are enforced by each school. Currently each school is left to set its own policy, and punishments inevitably vary. Ten schools dismiss student-athletes after three failed drug tests, while four dismiss athletes after four failed tests, for example.

Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity would like to see the penalties for positive tests made uniform.

"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]."

The issue has been a topic among the SEC school presidents, and they could have enough support to bring the matter to a vote on Friday. If the measure were to pass, the SEC would become the first conference to establish a league-wide drug policy.

There are athletic directors and coaches in the conference who believe that some schools gain advantages over others with more lenient drug policies, and that sentiment is certainly a driving force behind the desire to hold everyone to the same standard.

But the support for the new policy is far from unanimous, and whether or not it actually comes to a vote remains to be seen.

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