Emmert won’t relax drug use of marijuana

Published 1:40 am Thursday, November 8, 2012

ATLANTA (AP) — NCAA President Mark Emmert doubts that college sports’ governing body will relax its drug standards for student-athletes now that two states have legalized recreational marijuana use.

“There hasn’t been any discussion to that effect, and I would be surprised if there was an interest in doing that,” Emmert said on Wednesday.

Colorado and Washington approved ballot measures on Tuesday to become the first states to legalize recreational marijuana use. Marijuana is on the NCAA’s list of banned substances.

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“Our policies are our policies now,” Emmert said, “and I would be surprised if they change.”

Spokesman Erik Christianson wrote in an email to The Associated Press that the NCAA’s drug-testing rules are not affected by state laws.

“The NCAA banned drug and testing policies are not tied to whether a substance is legal for general population use,” Christianson wrote, “but rather whether the substance is considered a threat to student-athlete health and safety or the integrity of the game.”

Emmert, who grew up in Washington, served from 2004-10 as president of his alma mater, the University of Washington, before joining the NCAA. He thinks that the topic of marijuana use would not stir much interest among college and university presidents.

“Oh, I don’t know,” Emmert said. “It would probably be inappropriate to speculate.”

The NCAA released a study last January that said over 25 percent of college football players acknowledged in 2009 that they had smoked marijuana during the previous year.

Emmert spent the morning speaking to local civic groups in Atlanta, site of the men’s Final Four in April.