This year marks CSU East Bay’s first official year in Division II, though CSUEB has been part of the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) Drug Testing Program since 2009 for the required probation period
According to the NCAA, many students are banned from using certain substances including stimulants, anabolic agents, alcohol beta blockers, diuretics and other masking agents, street drugs, peptide hormones and analogues, anti-estrogens and many more.
While the rules are clear, an investigation by The Pioneer has revealed two unfortunate truths — student athletes are using drugs and CSUEB is not adequately testing student athletes for banned and illegal substances.
According to the NCAA policy student athletes in Division I and II are subject to year-round testing.
“This is my third year running for CSUEB and I have never been drug tested,” said Nastassia Hamor, a CSUEB cross country and track team-member since CSUEB entered Division II in 2009.
Similarly, third-year volleyball player Kitona Offord had the same response when asked how many times she has been drug tested in her time at CSUEB.
“I’ve never been drug tested and neither have any of my teammates,” said Offord. “They let us know at the beginning of the year that we may be tested, but I haven’t been tested yet.”
According to the NCAA drug testing policy, a Division II school that does not sponsor a football program will be randomly selected for drug testing at least once every two years. The random test will include four student athletes from at least one sport.
However, it is clear the threat of random drug testing does not keep all student-athletes from using banned substances.
In 1995, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that random drug testing for student-athletes was legal. But many campuses have chosen to do additional testing beyond what is required by the NCAA. While the NCAA recognizes drug use can severely hinder the performance and skills of athletes, their random testing policy seems minimal.
The editors of The Pioneer would like to propose that our institution take the lead in increasing drug testing standards for all student-athletes.
Of course, increased testing comes with a cost. According to the United States Sports Academy, a typical Substance Abuse Panel which tests for marijuana, barbiturates, cocaine and opiates costs up to $50 per student. Urine alcohol and nicotine screens average $10 each, while anabolic steroid tests cost as much as $95 per test. The cost of annual testing would total $165 per athlete per year.
The CSUEB athletics website lists 234 student athletes. That means for $38,610 per year, we could have one of the most aggressive drug testing policies in the division.
During the 2010-2011 academic year CSUEB awarded $703,490 in scholarships to student athletes. Investing an additional $38,000 in our student athletes would amount to just five percent of the funds spent on athletic scholarships and just a fraction of Athletics’ total budget.
Of the total budget more than $703,000 spent on athletics goes directly to student scholarships, which are paid with a combination of state money and student fees according to Darrell Bailey, CSUEB athletic business manager.
With so much money, including student fees supporting our athletes we should hold them accountable and encourage the university to promote a safe, productive environment for all athletes.
After all, student athletes represent CSUEB and our community, as their actions reflect the values we hold as a university.
Taking a proactive approach to prevent any negative press or loss of income, which could arise from a student-athlete overdose or positive drug test result, will ensure our university and athletics program pioneers a new standard for all CSU campuses.
This entry was published in The Pioneer Online on Thursday, February 16th, 2012 at 10:33 am.