Starting August 1st, the NCAA will begin using stricter regulations when testing college athletes for marijuana. On Friday, the organization’s Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports announced that the testing threshold will become less forgiving to “more accurately identify usage among student athletes.”
The NCAA currently tests for 15 nanograms/milliliter THC at championship and bowl games. At the beginning of August, the NCAA will change that threshold to only 5 nanograms/milliliter THC.
While the CSMAS is making the positive threshold much lower, they are also recommending that the NCAA lessen penalties for testing positive for marijuana. The group has suggested that the penalty for a positive marijuana test be changed from a full season suspension to a half season suspension.
The full season suspension put marijuana on par with all other performance enhancing drugs, but CSMAS doesn’t believe that to be fair. They would prefer to offer treatment and counseling to student athletes while allowing them to continue competing in their sport.
Due to the way that NCAA’s legislative cycle works, the lower THC threshold will go into place this year, but the lower punishments would not go into effect until August 2014. This means that the organization may see a spike in year long suspensions among college athletes until the second stipulation is enacted.